The WVDNR recently hosted its 14th annual Archery in the Schools State tournament at the Chris Cline Athletic Center on the campus of Marshall University. Only the best of the best qualified for the state tournament and these are some amazingly outstanding archers.

There are three divisions that cover shooters from fourth grade all the way through 12th. Only the top seven teams in each division qualify to compete in the state tournament. In addition to those top teams, the top 10 male and female archers that are not on a qualifying team are invited. This gives archers from even the smallest program a chance to make it to the state tournament.

In order to qualify, teams and archers alike must participate in one or more of the numerous archery tournaments held around the state. The tournaments must follow all National Archery in the Schools Program rules and protocols to be an eligible tournament.

These qualifying tournaments take place from January 1st up through the end of February. Scores from these local tournaments are then used to determine the cream of the crop.

When the dust settles the top teams and top archers are chosen to represent their schools at the State Tournament. This amounts to about 500 students from every corner of the state all shooting for top honors in their age group.

These archers know their stuff and are ready to prove it. The NASP program is unique in that all the archers are shooting similar equipment. All the bows are identical, except for color, and there can be no sights, aiming markers, or any other aids added to the bow. It is a true test of archer against archer.

This year three students from the Chapmanville Archery Team were among the best of the best and shot their way into the State Tournament round. Lydia Ratz and Jacob Blair, 8th grade students, were there representing Chapmanville Middle School, and Samuel Daugherty, a senior at Chapmanville Regional High School, were ready to take on the best archers in the state.

Only 30 arrows and a possible score 300 points were all that was left to see who would come out on top. Round after round of the best shooters in the state continually putting arrows in a target the size of a softball and scores in the 290 range is an amazing sight to see.

Once all the arrows were shot and the scores tallied, two Logan County students walked away as state champs. Lydia Ratz and Jacob Blair took top honors as the highest scoring female and male in the Middle School Division. Lydia shot the second highest score for all females competing in the entire tournament.

With their win at the state tournament under their belt Jacob and Lydia are now ready to move on to the next level. Both will compete next month in Louisville, Kentucky at the National Archery in the Schools Program Eastern Nationals event where they will compete against archers from all over the country.

Team and individual winners from each division at the state tournament will move on to compete against the winners from other states. The top scores from the National Tournament will then go on to compete against archers from not just the United States, but other countries as well at the World Championship coming this summer.

You can rest assured that not only are Ms. Ratz and Mr. Blair going to be doing some serious practicing in the next month, all the winners from the WV State Tournament will be sending arrows down range in preparation for the upcoming event.

So, a big congratulations goes out to Jacob and Lydia, and all the winners from last weekend's event. It was a big deal to qualify for states and an even bigger accomplishment to have one archer win top honors in their division, but to have two archers take the top two positions for the division is a great day for the Chapmanville Archery Team.

Well done and atta boy (and girl)! Good luck in Kentucky and, hopefully, around this time next month Chapmanville and Logan County will be celebrating having a couple of National Award-Winning Archers! Stay tuned.

Roger Wolfe is an avid outdoorsman and has spent most of his life hunting and fishing and writes a weekly outdoors column for HD Media. He is a resident of Chapmanville and can be reached via email at wolfeii@hotmail.com.

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