Words of advice from the experts…
(Above) Kyle Decker and Wilson Britton of Thomas Sumter Academy talk about how they got started as state archery competitors. Kyle, a 2017 graduate, received an archery scholarship and has signed to shoot for Emmanuel College in Georgia this year. Wilson, at just ten years of age, started competing at the high school level!
Tabitha Way shares her experience as an award-winning competitor in the National Archery in the Schools Program:
Although many have not heard of it, there is an archery program in the schools of America that has over 2.4 million participants. This is the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP), and I have been a part of it for the past eight years of my life. For me, archery started as a hobby that I didn’t commit much time to, but the exposure that I had in the beginning prepared me for the challenges that I now face.
I have spent the past three years training physically and mentally for eleven months a year. I have competed in more than 45 tournaments through five different states in that time. While I have definitely had off days and disappointing results, I have seen remarkable success as well. I have won at least fifteen of these tournaments and last season I won second place at the National Tournament and first place at the World Tournament. This season, I again won second place at Nationals and I am heading to World in Orlando, Florida this July. I have received numerous college scholarships from tournaments and I am so thankful that my hard work has paid off.
While standing on a podium and winning trophies feels enormously rewarding, there is another aspect to this sport that I appreciate just as much. I have made so many friendships over the years, I have become more confident in myself, and learned life lessons that I will take with me. I currently compete with Carolina Homeschool Warriors Team where everyone is always encouraging and building each other up. Our team’s unity has enabled us to win the South Carolina state championship title the past two years and the relationships that I have made here will last for years to come. While traveling to tournaments in other states, I have met archers from other teams all around the country. The sportsmanship and friendliness of archers in general is so encouraging to see and exciting to be a part of.
Since I am a senior, this is my last season to compete in the NASP program, and while I’m sad to leave it as an archer, I know that I will have a place to volunteer and help impact other kids’ lives the way mine was. I am going to relish my last couple of tournaments before I head to college, and if I could change my archery experience at all … I wouldn’t.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on South Carolina Wild are solely those of the authors, and do not reflect official policies, positions, or endorsements of activity or products by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.