State archery champions aim for Olympics | News
ELGIN, SC (WIS)- The Olympics archery competition wraps up in London Friday.
The US women's team wasn't able to bring home a medal but the men's team won silver earlier this week.
The sport has gained a lot of popularity recently with "The Hunger Games" but not many people really know what it takes to shoot a bow and arrow.
This survival skill turned sport is pretty impressive when you watch the two-time state archery champs at Blaney Elementary school in Elgin.
"You have to put your bow on your toes and then you have to face your hip to your target," said team member Ismael Hernandez.
Form is everything. If it's off, even just a little, don't count on your arrow going where it needs to.
"I'm nervous at first but when I get up there I start breathing to calm myself down then I shoot and I do good," said Hernandez.
Hernandez is a good archer to teach others. He ranked 2nd among boys in the state elementary division this year.
"You have to put the tip of the arrow where you want it and it'll go there," he said.
Adriana Marthers has no problems hitting the target. It's more a question of how many bulls eyes she'll get in practice.
When asked how she hits the bull's eye just about every single time, Marthers explained, "It's a secret."
The 2nd-ranked female in the state elementary division won't tell her secret but a lot of her skill boils down to practice.
Coach Scott Lewis gives them plenty of practice each week. He first learned about archery in schools through a program offered by the Department of Natural Resources.
"I brought that same enthusiasm back to the school and when the kids get their first bulls eye we have them hooked," said Lewis.
The students practice three times a week and they have a lot of rules that they have to follow. Those rules matter during the state and world competitions.
"I think this is a good way for them to interact and it teaches the boys how to behave around girls and girls behave around boys," said Lewis.
Lewis said the focus is discipline, respect and teamwork.
And of course, the archers have fun too.
"It's fun and with each tournament we go to, our team cheers us on no matter what we do," said team member Daron Pagan.
"If this is something you want to do, you have to focus," said Daron's mother Salita Watkins. "You have to put your best foot forward and that's what he's been doing. And he's been enjoying it."
Putting your best foot forward plus good aim, good attitude and coaching has shot this team to success.
"It's an honor to rank high as an individual and it feels good," said Marthers. "And then as your team it feels good for other people because you get to see them be happy."
The students are very accomplished as state winners this year and last year in the elementary division. In October they are going to Orlando for the world competition.
Lewis said some of the students have set their sights a bit higher. They're looking to compete in the Olympics in 2016.
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