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Bergman High School walked away with a decisive victory in the High School Division of the 15th annual Archery in the Schools State Championship held Saturday at Bank OZK Arena. Bergman’s top 12 archers posted an impressive 3,285 points out of a possible 3,600 to walk away with the state crown.
The state championship event was the culmination of this year’s Archery in the Schools Program, coordinated and presented by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission at elementary, middle and high schools throughout The Natural State.
Alpena High School took second place in the high school division with a strong 3,276 finish, while Cabot High School posted an impressive 3,259 to take the third-place trophy.
The tournament was a bit of redemption for Bergman’s archers. Last year, they fell only two points short of taking the state championship in a tight battle with Valley Springs High School. This year, the Bergman Panthers left nothing to chance. Their score not only outpaced the rest of the field, but topped their result from last year by an impressive 25 points. Logan Wilkinson, a Bergman 11th-grader, placed second in individual rankings and led the charge, but all of the Panther archers were on point in their victory.
Curtis Gray, Archery in the Schools coordinator for the AGFC, said all of the scores improved this year and the competition level has hit full stride.
El Dorado Barton Junior High took top honors in the middle school division, which was held Friday at the same location, with a commanding score of 3,285. Taylor Middle School was second with their 3,205-point finish and Charleston Middle School rounded out the top three with a tally of 3,164 points from their top 12 archers.
The fifth-grade class from El Dorado Washington Middle School triumphed in the elementary division with a score of 3,099 during Friday’s competition. The Charleston Elementary team, who won the elementary division last year, came in second with a final score of 3,001. Taylor Elementary finished third with 2,982 points during their competition day.
“We were back to pre-COVID numbers of participants and spectators this weekend,” Gray said. “More than 2,200 students competed and we had about 9,000 people overall attend the event this weekend.”
In addition to team rankings, each archer’s score was tallied individually and the top archers in each division were awarded special prizes for their outstanding achievements.
The top individual archer in the Boys High School Division was 11th-grader Michael Higgins of Taylor High School with a score of 289 out of a possible 300 points. Wilkinson of Bergman (286 points) and Greene County Tech senior Landon Jackson (283 points) finished second and third place in the Boys High School Division.
The top overall archer on the girls side may be new to the division, but she’s no stranger to the winner’s circle. Last year’s middle school state champion, Charleston High School’s Maddison Johnson, took the top spot with a score of 287 in her first year of high school competition. It was no easy win, however, as another ninth-grader, Zoe Richardson of Waldron High School, posted a score of 286. Third place went to Cabot High School’s Brooklyn Carmical, yet another ninth-grader, who scored 283 in Saturday’s shoot. The competition between these three archers will be very interesting to watch as they’ll surely be representing their schools well for the next three years.
For the second year in a row, the top individual archer was not from the high school level, but rather an archer competing in the middle school division. Austin Walker from Greene County Tech Middle School shot the top score of the entire tournament with an astounding 290 out of 300 possible points. Holland Stacks of Taylor Middle School (286 points) and Cole McKnight of South Pike County Middle School (285 points) rounded out the top three in the boys middle school division.
Dailyn Raynor of Alpena took the first-place trophy in the girls middle school division with a score of 277, barely edging out Madelyn Jose of Cabot Junior High (276 points) and Cora Connor of Barton Middle School (275 points).
In the boys elementary division, Harrison Langston of Washington Middle School and Wilder Bragg of Taylor Elementary both had scores of 276, but Langston proved the overall winner in the tiebreaker by placing 13 arrows in the bull’s eye versus Bragg’s 12 arrows in the center scoring ring. Astin Sullens of Valley Springs scored 273 to take the third-place spot in the boys elementary division.
Among the girls in the elementary division, Anjali Gonugunta of Batesville’s Eagle Mountain Magnet scored best with a 269. Emma Odom (266 points) and Abby Knighton (264 points), both from Washington Middle School, took second and third place, respectively.
All archers who won their division in individual competition were awarded a competition grade Genesis bow, similar to those shot during competition, and a field archery target. The top five individual archers in the High School Boys and High School Girls divisions also received scholarships ranging from $2,500 for first place to $500 for fifth.
The AGFC’s Archery in the Schools Program teaches students the sport of archery using modern compound bows that will fit a wide range of users. Teachers and other school staff learn from the AGFC’s archery instructors how to bring this sport to their students and offer them an alternative sport that children of nearly any size and ability can enjoy.
Visit www.agfc.com/ais for more information about Archery in the Schools and a complete list of team and individual scores. More pictures from the event are available at the AGFC’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/ARGameandFish.