Coach Jeremy Cox said this is so exciting and huge for the city of Ashville and St. Clair County.
“This is the first time we have swept all three divisions,” Cox said. “I’m very proud of all the kids.”
Not only did all three Ashville divisions win state, they set new state records in team scores.
The elementary division scored 3,268, the middle school division scored 3,276 and the high school division scored 3,404. A combined total of 66 students from Ashville participated in the state archery meet at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.
Ashville archers also won 12 individual medals. This is part of the National Archery in the Schools Program, sponsored in part by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Finishing behind Ashville in the elementary division were runner-up Breitling, and third place Susan Moore.
In the middle school division, second place went to Charles Henderson while third place went to Saraland.
In the high school division, second place went to Alma Bryant, and third place went to Madison County Technical School.
Ashville also had individual state champions, as Autumn Urban won the elementary division with a total score of 280; Jeremy Stewart won the boys’ middle school state title with a score of 287, while Crimson Self won the girls’ middle school state title with a score of 279; Stephanie Whisenant won the girls’ high school division with a score of 293, while Luke Richerzhagen won the boys’ high school division with a score of 293.
Cox said Whisenant won overall and is the best archer in the Southeast.
Cox said they are taking two teams to nationals — a middle school team (Cox is combining the elementary and middle school divisions together to make one super team) and a high school team.
The nationals are May 7-8.
This is the first year the elementary division and the high school division have won state titles, but it is the third year in a row that the middle school has won a state crown.
“This is a new sport, and it is a big deal for the school,” Cox said. “To me, it’s seeing the kids compete in something they never have before in their lives. It’s an opportunity, and it is something different for the kids who may not can play football, basketball or baseball or fit in that mold. It’s big for Ashville because we sweep the entire state tournament. Out of the 18 possible individual awards, we won 13 of them.”
Alexis Baskin finished first in the 3D middle school division shoot (foam animals) and she is actually classified as being in the elementary division.
Elementary division is grades 5 and 6, while the middle school division consists of grades 7 and 8. High school division is grades 9-12.
Cox said Ashville has a lot of talented archers, and they will be successful for many more years to come. Cox coaches the middle and elementary teams, while Stephen Nuss coaches the high school team.
AMS principal Phillip Johnson said he is extremely proud of the archers.
“Archery is an outstanding sport that requires dedication, concentration and commitment,” said Johnson. “These are all traits we try to teach in both the classroom and in extracurricular activities. Archery teaches great life lessons. If a student makes a poor shot, he or she must refocus, forget about the past mistake, keep their eyes on their goal and move on. That is exactly what we all must learn in real life.”