Growing Sergeant Bluff-Luton archery team hits a bullseye with students
About 125 students make up Sgt. Bluff-Luton's archery team.
SERGEANT BLUFF, Iowa (KTIV) -
Archery isn't just for summer camp and it's not just a lesson in gym class either.
As students pick up the bow, many find they're hitting a bullseye and it's a growing sport. One Siouxland team is putting in the practice hours to score big in competition.
Before the sun comes up in Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, kids are taking aim inside the high school's gym.
"It's pretty tough to get up at six, but it's fun," says Delaney Crowl, a junior at SBL.
About 60 eighth through twelfth graders practice on a snowy Thursday morning. They are just half of the school's archery team. Add the sixth and seventh graders who practice on opposite mornings, and there are 125 kids who shoot bows and arrows.
Not bad for a program that started just four years ago.
"To have two groups of about 60 kids every morning show up, I would say it's addicting," says Scott Pack, the school's archery coach.
"It gives me something to do in the morning instead of just coming to school and being like, "Oh, dang. I have to come to school today," I get to go, "Oh, hey, I get to go to archery in the morning," says Kendal Stokes, a freshman at SBL.
Some of these kids picked up at bow and arrow for the first time this year and have quite the eye for it.
"Anybody can shoot a bow," says Trace Chrisman, a senior at SBL. "It's not that hard, but if you put enough work into it, you can become really, really good."
The team is evenly split with boys and girls, all sizes, too, because archery is less about physical strength and more about mental strength.
"You don't need to be physically strong or one of the popular people to do it. Whoever wants to does," says Delaney Crowl, a junior at SBL.
The stance, breathing, and concentration all has to come together in one instant to hit the target.
It's a focus, they say, stays with them throughout their school day.
"Oh, definitely, especially with tests and block out everyone else what they are doing," says Chrisman.
"Just taking deep breaths, calming yourself down before school, it really helps," says Crowl.
"For the most part, anything that deals with archery also deals with the classroom, focus, concentration, always wanting to do better, and always wanting to get a higher score," says Pack.
They're hitting a bullseye with skills they can use long after their school years.
The SBL Warriors have competed in two tournaments so far this year and they've taken home first place in both.
There are only a handful of other schools in the Siouxland area that have archery teams. They include Lawton-Bronson, Spencer, Estherville-Lincoln Central, North Union, and Oakland-Craig. Estherville-Lincoln Central and North Union combine to make up the Emmet County team, which is run by the county's conservation office.
Both Pack and Emmet County's coach say since archery in schools is a fairly new idea, many schools don't realize there are grants available to start teams and there is relatively little cost to the district.
For more information on the National Archery in the Schools Program, click here.