White Knoll Archery Team takes State Title; Carolina Springs farm team looking to keep the tradition
White Knoll/Red Bank, SC – 04/02/2021 (Todd Fulmer) - COVID-19 has made participating in school sporting events a big challenge for many public-school students over the last 12 months. The challenge of masking, social distancing and keeping students safe has caused the cancellation of many games and activities.
One program that successfully stepped up and navigated the challenge has been the National Archery in the Schools Program in Lexington School District One. Two schools that picked up the gauntlet and took the challenge to have their seasons this year were White Knoll High School and Carolina Springs Middle School. Both programs were coming off State Championships last school year and were dedicated to trying to safely defend those titles.
Starting in August, both schools, led by the same coaching staff, developed a safe re-entry plan that would allow the students to begin practicing and start making plans for competition. Using split and home practices, the teams began their preparation for the defense of those titles.
As part of the re-entry plan, it was decided that instead of holding in person tournaments, schools would instead use a long standing NASP tournament option called Virtual Tournaments. In this case, teams register for a tournament like normal, but they shoot at their home school and submit the scores to NASP. The scores are compiled, and the winners are announced at the end of the competition. This format worked very well and allowed the teams to have a relatively normal competition schedule.
Both teams participated in 20 tournaments each spanning from November 2020 thru March 2021. The Timberwolves were able to complete an undefeated season, their first in the program’s history. Their record was an outstanding 20-0 that included an all-time top team score of 3415. This ended up being the 9th highest score in the US for this season.
The Huskies had a 15-5 record in which they saw the team really step up and grow far beyond what the coaches expected. This was a team had just seven experienced archers at the start of the season. In 2021, they added 11 new archers who all had no or very limited experience.
As the teams continued to pile up wins, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), which runs the state archery competitions, announced that teams would participate in a virtual state qualifying tournament to decide who would get to participate in the 2021 State Championship. For White Knoll High school, this would give them a chance to enter the fight for the championship again and hopefully take 1st place to continue their dominance. When the final arrow was loose, that is just what this team did! They shot a 3367 for first place in the qualifier.
Carolina Springs Middle school shot in the same event and finished in 2nd place overall with a score of 3164. This was another outstanding performance for the young team.
Now the stage was set for both teams to get an opportunity to defend those titles. They stepped up to that challenge in fine style taking on all comers.
Both teams compete in the 2021 SCDNR National Archery in the Schools Program State Championship. The White Knoll Timberwolves shot a tournament high score of 3379, just 76 points higher than the 2nd place team. This won them their second consecutive state title.
Several WKHS students also placed in the top 5 for individual scores including Logan Klotz who shot a 288 for the individual High School Male State Championship. Alex Massengill had a score of 287 to take second place honors in the male category.
For the ladies, Rachel Lease placed second in the state with a 290. Jamari DeWitt followed her by placing 3rd for seniors. That won her a $1500 scholarship from the SCDNR for her efforts. Senior Kalin Hutto also won a $1000 scholarship from DNR for her performance.
For Carolina Springs Middle, this performance showed that they are one of the strongest programs in the state. They came out and shot a dominating season high score of 3240 which gave the team its second consecutive state title and their 3rd title in the 5 years of their existence. Their team score was also ranked 36th highest in the nation.
In the individual results, 6th grader Sam Huntley, in his first year with the team, finished in a three-way tie for third that was decided by the number of 10 ring shots. Sam ended up settling for 4th place overall for the guys; a respectable score for anyone and outstanding for a rookie.
For the ladies, the most dominant female shooter overall this year in middle school was 7th grader Hannah Tran. She placed 2nd in the state with a fine 289, only 2 points off the first-place score.
Next up for both teams will be a Nationals Scoring Tournament on May 1st. Each of the teams will be competing to see how well they do against teams from across the United States.
After that the final tournament will be the NASP Open in Myrtle Beach, an in-person event.
The coaching staff said in a release they want to thank the student archers and their parents for their dedication to excellence and safety this season. They also wanted to thank to the administration, faculty, and staff at each school for their support during this difficult season. In closing, Coach Fulmer said, “It has been a long but successful season and we look forward to going for the three-peat next year!”