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LCA Archery Flying High In Year One

LCA 7th grade archer Jonathan Eshleman demonstrates the technique that helped him claim first place in the NASP State Tournament. (Photo: Dave Walls/WSET)

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) - The gyms at Liberty Christian Academy are usually filled with the sounds of basketballs bouncing or shoes squeaking.

Instead, the sounds of flying arrows pierce the air. The young archers in the Bulldogs' middle school program have been hitting the mark in their first year of existence.

What surprising to many is how quickly the program has grown in just a few months. Coach Jason Friend helped launched the program, and was blown away by the initial response, saying "At that time, we had 105 kids try out for the team through the entire middle school, so that's an abundance of kids who came to try out for it."

While most had never touched a bow before starting, 8th grader ALAINA COOKSEY pointed to a family connection in sparking her interest. "I just like the fun of it. I'm a hunting girl.” But how about the turnout? Even Alaina was impressed, saying “It was just interesting how many people really wanted to try out for it."

Success came quickly for both boys and girls, with LCA placing 2nd in states, and earning a spot in the NASP Nationals in May, joining the archers from Elon Elementary, who repeated as Elementary School State Champions.

Both Alaina, and the top boys middle school shooter in the state, Jonathan Eshelman, said the key to shooting like a champion is technique and control. Eshelman points to proper focus on technique, while Cooksey says clearing the mind at the line helps her hit the bullseye.

It's a level of control 7th Grader Savannah Summers says helps put everything into focus. Summers describes her archery experience at the line, saying "It feels like the whole world stops, and you're the only one moving, and the only one who is going to hit the target."

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