MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

July 16, 2014

Archers make triumphant return

Vans pulled in to the Whittier Elementary School parking lot Tuesday afternoon to find screaming fans and colorful signs welcoming the archery team home.

“We could not have done this without you,” said Whittier Archery Coach Dare Hill. “Last report I got was that we came in 23rd in the world.”

After the vans came to a stop, team members jumped out quickly and were reunited with tearful and smiling family and friends. Juana Posada was one of the first out of the van she was riding in on the trip.

“I’m happy to be home,” Posada said.

Hill, three school sponsors, and 16 students departed Thursday to begin their journey to the world tournament in Madison, Wisc.

Zoey Jenkins had the best tournament score for the Whittier team. She ranked 17th in the world, according to the National Archery in the Schools Program tournament results.

Jenkins said she was nervous at first and felt a bit distracted by other competitors.

“It was like I zoned them out,” Jenkins said. “I wasn’t nervous after that.”

Jenkins has set the bar high for next year and also said she has the goal of becoming a future Olympian.

Many team members admitted that they felt homesick but were very happy they had the chance to travel to Wisconsin and meet other children from different places in the world.

The team had the chance to meet a team of students from South Africa.     

“It was a great experience for them,” Hill said. “We wanted it to be educational at the same time.”

 During the tournament the team had time to visit an Abraham Lincoln Home Historic Site in Illinois and a science museum in St. Louis. The students said that they were tricked by their coach who said they were going to an art museum and were going to have to write a report.

Students said they were pleasantly surprised to find out instead of going to an art museum and writing a report they were going to Six Flags.

“We didn’t really know we were going to Six Flags,” Jenkins said. “They tricked us and everything.”

Isabella Morotta said shooting was her favorite part of the trip and Six Flags was a close second.

“That was the first time that I’ve ever ridden a roller coaster,” Morotta said. “It was really high up. It was awesome though.”

Hill said the students were extremely well mannered, and locals took notice.

“The judges complimented us,” Hill said. “Several restaurants said they were the best behaved kids they had ever had.”

Reach E.I. Hillin at (918) 684-2926 or ehillin@muskogeephoenix.com.

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