Lawrence Co. archery wins back-to-back state championships
JACKSON – The Lawrence County High School is the home of the back-to-back 4A state champions in high school archery.
The Archery in Mississippi Schools (AIMS) state championship is a 3 day event held annually in the Kirk Fordice Equine Center in Jackson. On April 16th, the Cougars won the tournament with a score of 3,338 out of a possible 3,600, out pacing Amory High School’s 3,321 to bring home their second straight state championship.
According to the team’s coach, David Barber, this year was a banner year for the cougars.
“We competed in five tournaments, winning grand champion in each one,” said LC coach David Barber. “Our kids brought home the South State Championship. We set a new state record in scoring and won our second state championship, finishing the year with a record of 16-0.”
To win this year’s championship, the team had to defeat Amory High School. “I knew this would be a challenge from the beginning of the season when I saw that Amory was basically matching our scores every week,” continued Barber. “They were our greatest competition.” Amory finished second for the fifth straight year, followed by Mendenhall in third place.
Barber stated Archery is the fastest growing sport in the nation. There were over 2,500 competitors at the state championship in Jackson this year. Archery is a co-ed sport. A team can have up to 24 members on it and the top 12 are scored in an event. However, the top 12 must include at least 4 archers of the opposite gender. Many students that can’t participate in other sports find a place they can excel in when they join the archery team.
Although this is their second championship, the Cougar archery team is still relatively young. Most of the squad is composed of sophomores. The cougars are only losing one senior, Brady Turnage. “Brady has been a key part of our program’s success. He will be missed. But, we have noticed a lot of young talent that will be coming up next year from the middle school programs,” Barber said.
Much of the team’s success can be attributed to the 3 feeder programs that are now going on in the county. Topeka-Tilton has a first class archery program headed by John McDonald. Many of the students that participate have already been exposed to the fundamentals of the sport before they reach the High School. Gary Anderson and Vicki Cox head up the programs at Rod Paige Middle School and New Hebron Attendance Center.
Barber mention that the Superintendent of Education Tammy Fairburn is extremely supportive of the program, as is LCHS Principal Darrell Turner and Athletic Director Cory Keyes. “It’s awesome to see your administrators in attendance supporting the team and our kids really appreciate the support we get from the administration. We can’t thank them enough.”