BY KARISSA MILLER
For the second year, Union Grove Elementary School has fielded a competitive indoor archery team.
The team attended the state tournament last year. The team competed in the qualifying event for this year’s state event at North Iredell High School on January 15.
“We did quite good. We had some good scores and a few that were a little bit lower. Everyone did their best and gave it their best effort,” said Coach Drew Wellborn. “We won’t know (if the team qualified) until February 1 when they send out an email. I feel pretty good about it.”
The team had only only two returning members — Natalie Templeton, 11, and Ian Williams, 10.
Natalie, like some of her teammates, grew up in a rural area learning how to handle a gun safely and was taught a healthy respect for firearms at a young age. When she found out about the archery team, she was excited about the idea of participating in a shooting sport.
“I like that it’s challenging and really fun. Only a few people at our school get to do it,” she said.
Ian agreed and said archery has become one of his favorite hobbies.
“I like to shoot. You feel good knowing that you made the team. When you progressively get better, it’s something you can be proud of,” he said.
Newcomer, Knox Prevette, 10, said he likes being on the team for a different reason.
“I like that you get to meet new people that you never talked to before,” he said, admitting that he’s shy until he gets to know a person.
Students shoot arrows indoors and from distances of 10 meters and 15 meters. The highest score they obtain is 50 with five arrows.
While the team members meet for regular practices, Coach Wellborn said that all UGES students, once they are old enough, get introduced to archery during their PE time.
The students said there are a lot of positives with attending a school with small class sizes.
“I’ve had the same teacher two years in a row. I feel like I’ve learned a lot,” Natalie said. “My whole class loves her.”
“The teachers are always very nice. They will support you and if they have time, they will go — just you and them — and talk to you about what you can fix. I’ve also never been bullied my entire life being at this school,” Ian added.
While Wellborn has no previous archery experience, he wanted to give students an opportunity to try archery and work on their skills so they can enter in to middle and high school competitive archery. It also will improve their opportunities for scholarships.
“I’ve noticed that some of my better archers don’t play traditional sports,” he said. “We are fortunate to have support from our principal when I brought this idea to her.”
Students emphasized that archery teaches them good sportsmanship, creates a connection to their school and teammates, and teaches them about responsibility.
• Natalie Templeton
• Ian Williams
• Knox Prevette
• Jamie Baumgart
• Aaron Bussell
• Inmar Cisneros
• Brantley Sipes
• Savannah Stocks
• Mason Skidmore
• Mason Snyder
• Jase Miller
• Sawyer Ratcliffe
• Emelyn Miles
Wellborn is the head coach. Assistant coaches are Shawna Stroud and Deborah Kennedy.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported that Union Grove Elementary is the only I-SS elementary school with a competitive archery team. Cool Spring Elementary started a team this year.