VHS archers ready for state competition

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The archery season is flying by, and the Vicksburg Gators are preparing to notch their arrows, draw back and send them sailing toward the targets at the MHSAA state tournament Wednesday in Jackson.

For the Gators, led by coach Pam Piazza, the state meet couldn’t come at a better time.

“This whole season, they have constantly improved their scores,” Piazza said. “We look like we’re peaking right now.”

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As the sport has picked up speed, so has the competition, which made qualifying for this year’s state tournament mean more than normal. Over the course of the season, some archers have improved their average score by nearly 30 points.

“They work good together,. They’re just a good bunch of kids,” Piazza said. “This state is kind of special, in that the past two years we go to state just by going to the qualifier, but this time we had to score big in order to qualify, so this was a little bit special. They were excited, I was happy for them.”

As a team in their first five matches, the Gators consistently hung around 2,900 points. However, in the second half of the season they have scored more than 3,000 points in four of their five matches.

They had a season-best score of 3,146 at the North State meet last week in Coffeeville. David White is ranked 51st out of approximately 1,000 male archers statewide, and scored a 279 out of a possible 300 at the North State meet.

“As a team, we’re getting more consistency, and in archery you have to be consistent,” Piazza said. “We’ve been up and down the first couple of years, shooting good then coming back and shooting not so good, but this year we’re doing great.”

Piazza wanted to see improvement in the state meet, but was already very pleased with how the team has performed.

“I feel pretty good,” Piazza said. “If they beat their score from the qualifier, I’ll be thrilled, and what spot we come in is what spot we come in. We’ve made major improvements all season. They’re all that a coach could ask for.”

This is just the third year VHS has had an archery team. Much of this season’s success is due to a senior class of six archers, four of whom have been with the program since its start.

Immediately following them is an 11-member junior class, all of whom have been with the program since its inception.

“They’re going to have experience, their fundamentals are pretty good, we’ve been working on them for a couple of years now, and it’s looking good for us,” Piazza said.