Student Archers Aim for State Title at Perry Competition | News
The Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry became the bullseye for more than 600 amateur archers from around the state.
The students, grades 4th through 12th, set their sights on winning Wednesday's state archery competition, so they could advance to nationals.
The Dodge County team seemed poised to hit that target.
17-year-old Blayre Durden is a member of the team. Archery didn't start out as her goal.
She only pulled back her first bow after a teacher's suggestion. Durden said, "He said, 'Hey. We're gonna have an archery team.' I was like archery?"
Arrows were pointing in a new direcetion anyway. Her softball career had missed the mark.
Durden said, "My coaches never really seemed to have the time to explain balls and strikes. So, I didn't get far."
With archery, she soared.
Durden said, "I picked up this bow, and I hit bullseye!"
16-year-old Joshua Peterson says his dad pointed him toward his passion at an earlier age. Peterson said, "When I was four years old, he put a bow in my hand, and I've it ever since. We got pictures of me in the house, and I could barely hold the bow up, and the bow was as long as I was."
Now, his dad coaches him and Durden on the 22-member Dodge County High School team.
Jerome Peterson says the sport draws in everyone, including those who never thought of themselves as athletes. He said, "They say, 'I'm too big', or 'I'm too little'. Archery you can get involved no matter the size."
If the individual archers or the team wins the state competition, they will move on to nationals in May in Louisville, Kentucky. That's where more than 8,000 archers from 35 states will compete.
Joshua said he believee he had a shot to advance as an individual, shooting just shy of perfect. He said, "I shot a 289 out of 300."
Blayre didn't fare as well saying, "Everybody has their bad day."
Plus, she says the teams high scores could keep the Dodge County young archers on course.