North Rock Creek archery team to compete in national competition

By Elisabeth Slay The Shawnee News-Star eslay@news-star.com

Students from the North Rock Creek Archery Team will compete in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) National Tournament in Louisville, Kentucky May 11-13.

According to Coach JR Rogers, the entire high school and middle school teams qualified and are going to the tournament.

“Overall we are taking 37 archers from the NRC to the national tournament,” Rogers said. “Fourth and fifth graders are considered the elementary division. Sixth through eighth graders are considered the middle school division and the ninth through twelfth graders are classified as the high school division. ”

Rogers explained students qualify for the competition individually by placing in the top 10 in the state at a state level competition which one of his students did.

“Teams qualify by shooting a combined score. For high school the qualifying score is 3,099 out of 3,600, ”he said. “For middle school the qualifying score is 2,999 out of 36,00.

According to NRC student Makayla Rudek, it feels good to qualify because it means her hard work has paid off.

Students and team members Addison Iddings and Reane Mallory said they are excited for this year’s competition because they weren’t able to compete last year due to COVID.

“It feels great especially getting to go as a freshman,” student Madison Neer said.

Courtney Melton said it feels amazing to have this opportunity because she has always wanted to go to nationals.

“It’s a great way to complete my senior year since we’ve been working toward this since sixth grade,” student Andrew Robertson said.

In addition to Rogers, Coach Mike Lewis also works with the archery program.

Both Lewis and Rogers have been with the NRC archery program since 2013.

“Coach Lewis focuses primarily on the younger archers and I focus on the older grades,” Rogers said.

He explained the program was started by Superintendent Blake Moody and Lewis in 2013 with a grant through the Wildlife Department and a partnership with the Absentee Shawnee Tribe.

“They both had a love of archery and a desire to give our students something different,” Rogers said. “The program first started as a fifth grade PE elective, grew into our after school program and now we have archery classes from fifth grade all the way through high school.”

North Rock Creek took 16 archers from fifth to eighth grade to competitions for the first time in 2016.

This year the district took 90 archers, fifth through twelfth grade to competitions.

The students are excited to have the opportunity to shoot on a national level.

“(I’m looking forward to) the experience of going to another state to shoot and see another part of the country and team bonding,” student Bre Coker said.

Rogers said though there are different age groups, as a whole NRC Archery has a motto of “One school. One team. We are NRC. ”

“As a team our fifth graders practice along our high school and middle school archers,” Rogers said. “They do so to push one another, challenge each other and bring each other along as the success and growth of one team will affect the other teams as well. We’re not just a team, we’re family. “

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