Archery is growing in popularity regionally and nationally. With Graves County High School student Dustin Johnson's success over the past two years as a state and national champion and recipient of tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships, interest is especially high in western Kentucky. Interested Graves County Middle and High school students as well as sixth graders at five of the district's elementary schools may join the schools' teams and they don't even have to own a bow!
According to the National Archery in the Schools Program, sixth graders may practices with middle school as long as the NASP rules are taught during the school day. At this time, Graves County elementary schools involved include Central, Fancy Farm, Lowes, Symsonia, and Wingo.
Registration is scheduled in the Graves County High School cafeteria at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15. Besides signing up, prospective team members will stay for a mandatory meeting. Parents also are welcome to attend.
"No experience is required," said high school coach Melissa Jameson, who also is champion Dustin Johnson's mother. "We teach all the fundamentals for a successful archer." Considering her track record, that statement carries extra significance.
Students "compete as a team and also individually," she explained. High school "practices start after fall break Monday and Wednesday afternoons from 3:15 'til 5; Middle School's practices are Tuesdays and Thursdays in the high school cafeteria. Competitions start in late November and run 'til March."
Graves County archers "compete at other high schools, regional, state, national, and world competitions," Jameson said. "National competitors can win scholarships and everyone can learn more self-discipline and benefit from the team atmosphere."
Organizers make efforts to keep costs low for participants. The schools maintain needed equipment. The $40 equipment fee participants pay includes receiving a team shirt. Students also are responsible for competition fees, normally ranging from $6 to $8 per tournament.
To learn more, email Melissa.Jameson@graves.kyschools.us or Graves County Middle School coach Jordan Winn at Jordan.Winn@graves.kyschools.us.