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Top 10 moments: Cougars are state archery champs — Lawrence County wins sixth championship

As the 2017-2018 athletic year comes to a close, The Daily Leader looks at the top moments for the area schools and their athletic achievements.

Lawrence County wins 2018 archery state championship

Tawanna Thornton didn’t know she was going to be the Lawrence County High School Archery coach until September of 2017.

The goal when she took over the program was to keep a team together that had won five previous state championships.

She did much more than that, as the Cougars won the state championship in April, knocking off Mantachie and Amory along with others.

“I knew that when I took over, the first thing that I was going to have to do was make an effort to make this more of a team,” Thornton said. “We had a bunch of good archers, but we were all individualized, and I wanted to make sure that we became more of a team.”

Thornton admitted winning the state championship wasn’t at the forefront of her plans when she took over, as the program had lost a lot of players from the previous season due to graduation and other factors.

“I really wasn’t sure if we were ready to compete at that high of a level, but the kids worked so hard,” Thornton said. “We became a team over the course of two months, and because of that it allowed us to do well.”

The Cougars finished second in the South State championship which allotted them a spot in the MHSAA state championship meet.

Lawrence County knocked off fellow 4A opponent Amory and 3A opponent Mantachie in the meet and won the title, a feat which Thornton said was thrilling for her.

The Cougars got better throughout the season, seeing second place finishes turn into first place finishes with the ultimate reward coming in the state championship meet.

Thornton said Marc McNese, a senior archer, and Van Malone deserved credit for helping their teammates get better throughout the season.

“They put in the work themselves, and then they’d go and help their teammates get better,” Thornton said. “That’s when I knew that we were going to be better as a team. The top scorer in archery is always rewarded, but they took it on themselves to make sure that we got better as a team.”