AMS archers fall short on bid for fourth national title
by Gary Hanner
May 16, 2012 | 2284 views |  0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ashville Middle School’s Zac Smith takes aim during the National Archery in the Schools Program’s national championship tournament at Louisville, Ky. Smith shot 294 out of a possible 300 in the tournament, and finished fourth in the nation. The AMS team finished fifth overall.
Ashville Middle School’s Zac Smith takes aim during the National Archery in the Schools Program’s national championship tournament at Louisville, Ky. Smith shot 294 out of a possible 300 in the tournament, and finished fourth in the nation. The AMS team finished fifth overall.
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Ashville archer Amanda Alexander demonstrates how she shot at nationals in Kentucky.
Ashville archer Amanda Alexander demonstrates how she shot at nationals in Kentucky.
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LOUISVILLE, Ky — After winning three national championships in a row, the Ashville Middle School archery team finished fifth in the nation this past Saturday in Louisville, Kentucky.

AMS posted a final team score of 3328, fifth best out of 130 middle school teams.

The top AMS archer was Zac Smith, with a score of 294, fourth in the nation.

At one time during the competition, Smith was tied for first place in the nation.

“During the last flight, there were two guys that shot a 296 and a 295,” Smith said. “I was tied with a guy who also had a 294, and we had a shoot-off. I finished fourth.”

Smith said it feels good just to have something to show for all his hard work.

“We practiced one-and-a-half hours after school each day,” Smith said. “I would take my bow home and shoot for another hour.”

Smith is 14 years old and just finished the eighth grade, which means he will shoot with the high school archers next year.

“I’m excited about moving up,” he said.

The rest of the top-10 archers for AMS were Chris Reeves, 281; D’Angelo Williams, 280; Gabe Roberts, 280; Chase Roberts, 280; Tabitha Tucker, 279; Hunter Whisenhunt, 279; Erin Smith, 274; Skyler Whisenhunt, 273; and Francis Landaverde, 272.

D’Angelo Williams shot a 280, and said it feels like he’s accomplished his goal for the season.

“I look forward to competing again next year,” Williams said. “This was my first year to compete at nationals, and I was not expecting it to big this big.”

Williams, an 11-year-old sixth-grade student, said if he and his teammates all try harder and focus, they have the chance of winning another national championship.

In her final competition as a middle school archer, Tabitha Tucker finished in the top 10 and shot a 279.

“The highest I ever shot was a 294 last year,” Tucker said. “It feels good to finish in the Top Ten. Coach Wilson is great and just the best ever.

“I am disappointed we did not win the national championship. I know we can do it next year.”

Speaking of next year, Tucker will move up to the high school team, and she said she was very excited, because she will reunite with some archers from last year and the year before who were national champs on the middle school team.

In her first year as head coach of the Ashville Middle School archers, Kirbey Wilson said it had been a great year.

“I am proud of the students,” Wilson said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better group of students. From winning regionals, to state, and placing fifth in the nation. I have learned a lot along this journey.

“I hope to come back stronger next year. I am thankful for the help along the way with the administration, assistant coaches, and some really great parents.”

Wilson said she knows she will be losing some great archers who will move up to the high school team.

“We had 180 middle school students at tryouts,” she said. “We will take only 34.”

Contact Gary Hanner at ghanner@thestclairtimes.com.

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