Shady archers in Louisville for Eastern Nationals | Sports

Fresh off its first state championship, the Shady Spring High School archery team is in the Bluegrass State looking to make an even bigger impact.

The Tigers are competing in the NASP Eastern Nationals starting Thursday afternoon at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky. The tournament will run through Saturday.

Shady made history by winning its first-ever West Virginia Archery in the Schools championship March 26 in Charleston. Head coach William York is impressed with how far the team has come in the face of uncertain times.

“I am extremely proud of this team. Shady had a competitive archery team. I have watched a couple of these archers shoot for years now,” he said. “We had a lot of obstacles to overcome. We were halfway through the season a few years ago when Covid hit. We had an awesome team then. But the season was canceled. Then last year we only competed in one face-to-face tournament due to Covid restrictions.The other tournaments were virtual.

“The beginning of this year, no one really knew what the rules were going to be and there was not a lot of tournaments to sign us up for. Plus, in the middle of the season I got sick and thank goodness I had the help “of the other coaches, Ronnie Stover and Christina Furrow and parents. So this team overcame a lot of adversity for the last few years. And they prevailed. I am proud of them and honored to have coached them.”

Members of the high school team are Jonah Bennett, Autumn Canada, Brooke Bennett, Maggie Boblett, Adrian Carag, Zoe Crook, Brian Evans, Laken Gentry, Brayden Jarrell, Gracie Johnson, Anderson Kim, Grayson Miles, Abigail Okes, Alex Redden, Alexis Redden, Noah Stafford, Uriah Stover, Abigail Szuch, John Taylor and Vaughn York.

Meanwhile, the Shady Spring Middle School team is also in Louisville after finishing fourth at the state tournament. The middle school team won a state title in 2014 under coaches John Judy, Clinton Smith and Chris Payne. They started the program and York said “they mentored me and were great influences. So they deserve some of the credit, too.”

York said the state tournament was a learning experience for the middle school team – one to which they responded.

“This middle school team was a little jewel,” York said. “The eighth-graders were the group that their season was canceled with the pandemic. The sixth- and seventh-graders never competed in a face-to-face tournament this year. After they got some of their nerves under control, they decided they “I wanted to shoot and compete. And we ended up being one of the top in the state and with an arrow here or there, we might have won the states. I believe we turned a few heads, though.”

Members of the middle school team are Ella Gray, Evan Romage, Caroline Adkins, Bryce Collins, Sullivan Hamrick, David Haralston, Connor Hoffman, Hanna Holliday, Lucas Houchins, Jamie Johns, Kaylee Jude, Jocelyn Lafferty, Hunter Lilly, Tucker Lilly, Liz Lynch, Cullen McVey, Jameson Metzger, Anthony Moore, Emily Mullins, Austin Okes, Colby Skaggs, Lilly Stumpf, Zak Waddell and Alexis Welch.

York said the teams have been getting ready over the last 1 1/2 months, but the goal was not to overdo it.

“We have been practicing a little. Archery is a long season, so you try not to burn them out,” he said. “It’s a tough balance. But we tried to have a few practices.”

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