Put-in-Bay School got a taste of March Madness but in a sport very different from basketball. The Put-in-Bay School Archery Team got a ticket to the big dance and qualified for the National Archery in Schools Program National Championships in the high school division.
Teams that qualify for the NASP Archery Nationals at the high school level are normally made up of 16-24 high school students. Due to the small size of Put-in-Bay School, putting together a team required some creative thinking. The Put-in-Bay "high school" team is made up of one high school student, six middle school students, and 10 elementary students.
The team members are also all beginners at archery. The team had their first archery lessons in physical education class in late October. This underaged, underexperienced team of overachievers has worked very hard to reach their goals.
The team's first official competition was at the NASP Ohio State Archery Championships on March 6 in Columbus. The team finished in 8th place, scoring 2711 points and qualifying for the National Championships on May 8-9 in Louisville, Ky. The team also got to see Arnold Schwarzenegger and got autographs from UFC fighter Randy Couture.
This is the first time that Put-in-Bay has competed at a state championship in any sport. This will also be the first time that Put-in-Bay will compete at a national championship.
The fourth graders are particularly excited about going to Kentucky. In addition to competing at the national championships, they want to eat Kentucky Fried Chicken in Kentucky.
"This success could not have come to a nicer bunch of kids," said Put-in-Bay School adviser Susan Harrington. "This team's success is due to their self-confidence and their ability to concentrate. They can also rebound quickly, if they shoot a bad arrow, it is no big deal, they come right back and get a bullseye on the next arrow. We feel like we are Cinderella, and we are on our way to the NCAA Final Four!"
The Ohio NASP is coordinated by the Ohio Division of Wildlife. The program includes a school curriculum that teaches international style archery at the elementary, middle school, and high school level. The curriculum exceeds the national physical education standards.
Put-in-Bay is a popular vacation spot just 2 miles offshore of mainland Northwest Ohio in Lake Erie. While "Put-in-Bay" is technically the name of the village on South Bass Island, the name commonly is inadvertently used to refer to the entire island. A summer resort since the mid-1800's, the village can be considered the hub of tourism among the Lake Erie Islands, with its numerous taverns, wineries, restaurants, waterfront condos, rental homes, and hotels.