Wilson Elementary Students Compete at National Level in Archery

#RutherfordFaces: ‘Finding the motivation to succeed’

At Wilson Elementary, students are hitting the bullseye more often than not. Only a fourth- and fifth-grade program, Wilson students are competing in and winning at national level events — and the sport is growing in popularity.

Ashleigh Cathcart is the head archery coach at Wilson Elementary.

“Archery is unique because it is something available to students who may not be athletic in other sports. Some of our archers play football, basketball, soccer – and for others archery is their only sport,” said Cathcart. “Archery is something that requires discipline, focus, dedication, and persistence. All of these are qualities that parents, and teachers try to instill in their students, so being able to reinforce those through archery is great. Archery helps students practice these qualities while finding the motivation to succeed from within.”

For this Q&A interview, four members of the archery team answered questions about their time on the team and the impact it has had on them socially and academically.

Featured in the interview are fifth graders: Emmy Vanwinkle, Kaylin Carlson, Levi Cathcart, and fourth grader Levi Helton.

Wilson Elementary students compete at national level in archery
Top: Levi Helton poses by target. Emmy Vanwinkle and Kaylin Carlson with their awards
Bottom: Levi Cathcart shoots a bullseye

Q: What have you accomplished so far being on the team?

A: Emmy – We have come in third and second place in ever tournament this year. And we’ve had at least one or two people place individually. Last year we were state champions, and we went to nationals, and we came 14th in the country for our division.

A: Levi H – I’ve beaten my coach once. I was so excited in practice that afterwards I was shooting bad.

Q: Why do you do it? What do you like?

A: Levi H – I just like archery. You have to focus on the target a lot. You have to go into an aim spot. It requires skill and I love skill games.

A: Levi C – I can get medals if I do well. I just like medals. I started last year.

A: Kaylin – We do competitions during practice all the time. It makes us work harder. I feel like it’s really fun and I’m really good at it, so I just have a lot of fun doing it and get to spend time with most of my friends – most of my really close friends are on the archery team.

A: Emmy – It’s really fun. You have to focus to get a bullseye, so it has helped me build focus. So in school if I focus I can get good grades. So, it’s really fun.

Q: What made you start?

A: Levi C– During kindergarten I wondered what it was and eventually found out when I was in first grade.

A: Kaylin – My first-grade teacher was an archery coach and my mom worked at a different school, so I would sit in during archery practice. I knew I wanted to do it

Q: Where does a school do archery? Are there sharp arrows?

A: Levi C– So we shoot from 10 and 15 meters away from the target and we have 5 arrows to shoot.

A: Emmy – We practice in the gym. There’s a big screen with a ton of targets and then we get an arrow quiver, which is what arrows go in. And we use real arrows. They have to stick to the target.

Q: What’s it like being on the team?

A: Kaylin – It’s really fun and you can build more friends whenever you do archery.

A: Emmy – I was on the team last year as a 4th grader, so I met a lot of 5th graders that are now 6th graders. I made a lot of new friends. They were nice to us

Q: What is it like to compete at a high level in archery? Do you get nervous?

A: Levi Helton – So it’s kind of fun, but also kind of stressful because you’re trying to get a good score on it. And you don’t want to be stressed because that’ll make you get bad shots.

A: Levi C– It’s kind of stressful at state, county, and the big nationals. In those tournaments you have to do well for your team or else your team won’t do well.

A: Emmy – I feel pretty confident because I place in my division each week. But I’ve placed in something each week, so I feel really confident.

A: Kaylin – I do get stressed out, but it’s really fun for me. I’m competitive and my family is competitive.

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