BATESVILLE – Batesville Community School Corporation’s middle school and high school archery teams recently ranked first and second respectively at the state level. Additionally, BMS ranked 12th in the country out of 1,013 teams and BHS ranked 52nd in the country out of 847 teams. And, the Intermediate School’s teams placed 11th at the state level and 156th in the country out of 670 elementary teams for their first year in the program.
The archery after-school program began shortly after BCSC received a Department of Natural Resources grant to fund the majority of costs associated with teaching archery during PE classes. With the equipment available, Archery Head Coach and Coordinator Michael Weiler started the after-school program in which students now compete at a local, state and national level.
“My goal is to have 300 kids next year,” Weiler said. “Right now, we have about 11% of the entire student population at Batesville on the archery team.”
Weiler is the Director of Technology Support at BHS and a Batesville native. He has always been interested in bow hunting and later began to enjoy competitive archery. He joined the BCSC faculty after tiring of his traveling for a previous job. His children were already in the Batesville School system and it made sense to work closer to home. When BCSC asked for new ideas, Weiler suggested an archery team.
“A lot of kids I have do not play sports. They’re outdoor kids that like to hunt and fish, ”Weiler said. “You can adapt [archery] for anybody. ”
The season begins towards the end of October and students shoot through at least the state competition on the second Saturday in March. If the students perform well enough, they can continue competing into May and June.
BCSC’s first year saw 75 students competing in the after-school program. This year’s team has 244 students, and this is only the fourth season.
Students are split into 24-person teams based on their average scores. Scoring is based on target proximity to the bullseye. Archers shoot three inns of five arrows at 10 meters and another three inns of five arrows at 15 meters. A perfect score is 300, which would be 30 bullseyes. Scores go down from 10 (a bullseye) by rings as the arrow hits farther from the center of the target.
The national competition is May 12 to 14. While shooting slots have yet to be announced, four teams adding up to roughly 96 students will travel to Louisville for their assigned time to compete. Six teams qualified but BCSC chose to take the four highest teams.
Before the national competition, BCSC teams will compete in Milan in a local competition on April 2.
Milan, South Ripley, BCSC and Jac-Cen-Del will compete in a Ripley County tournament on April 9th.
If the BCSC teams qualify at the national tournament, they will return to Louisville in June for the open championship.
“Each year, we try to do a charity shoot as well that we donate all the proceeds to various different charities,” Weiler said. “Our first year, we gave almost $ 7,000 [between] the ALS Association of Indiana and the Batesville Community Education Foundation. ”
Students interested in joining the archery team are asked to pay tournament fees which amount to about $ 60 annually. This covers the average 10 tournaments a year with an average admission fee of $ 6 per student.