EDDYVILLE — The Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont high school archery team has had a pretty good year, to say the least.
Alan Brittain, head coach of the EBF team said the team visited Nashville for the world archery tournament July 24–July 27. Alex Brittain was the overall champion with a perfect 300 score. Kaylie Lyons was the female overall runner-up with 294.
The team took second place in the championships, Alan said.
"We feel pretty good. All the kids were pretty excited about it. It was a goal they were trying to meet," he said. "Their highest score all year was 1729."
Alex said he felt pretty ecstatic following the competition.
"It was a great time and I love doing it. I love shooting and being able to go down there and put a perfect score on the board in Nashville, Tenn. was the highlight of my career as one of my last tournaments," he said. "To be able to finish on top and shoot the biggest score that I was ever able to shoot was the best part of it all. Everybody dreams of shooting that perfect 300 score and I finally got it."
Alex said he loves archery because "when you're on the line shooting, it's all on you."
"You don't have anybody else to worry about. In a football game if your quarterback throws off it's on the quarterback," he said. "Here, if you throw off or you shoot wrong, it's on you and you alone. You control the outcome of your tournament, you don't have anybody else to worry about making a mistake. It all falls solely on you. That's what's great about the sport."
The hardest thing about the sport, Alex said, is the pressure.
"When you're on the line, you have so much pressure on your shoulders from spectators to other competitors, to your parents," he said. "There's so much pressure built into it; it's unbelievable."
Alan said the team practices three to four times a week at both block targets and 3D targets.
"We've been doing that since the first of November and we haven't stopped," he said.
It takes a lot of work.
" I've been doing this for 10 years now. I started in third grade," Alex said. "Countless times of practice. Practice year-round, three to five nights a week. Sometimes every night of the week. There have been times we've had big tournaments, we've shot every day in a row for a full month. You put into it what you get out of it."
Last year, the team finished third at Nationals and fourth at the world tournament.
Alex, who just graduated from Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont High School said he's not done with archery.
"I plan on going and shooting into the professional competitions and going farther and going to bigger levels," he said. "I'd like to travel to Las Vegas the second week of February, for one of the biggest Las Vegas indoor tournaments."
Alex said his next goal is to shoot a perfect 300 score again.
"Once you get to that top level, you're there, you're at the top. You're as high up as you can get; you can't go any farther," he said. "The challenge of that is being able to maintain that skill and maintain shooting as high as you can go."
Anybody can shoot a 300 once in their lifetime, Alex said, and fall back down.
"You may fall back down into the 280s out of 300," he said. "Being able to maintain yourself and keep working hard and keep the fire there to make sure you stay at the 300 mark is the biggest challenge that I'm going to face and that's my biggest goal is right now to make sure I stay on top."
Alex recommended that others try their hand at the sport.
"I would convince them by the fact that if you like going around, meeting new people, if you like traveling the country and state and going to different places, seeing new things, meeting new people," he said. "That's one of the biggest things that I loved about it was you never know in that year where you're going to end up."
Tennessee, Wisconsin, Missouri, Indiana, Florida, South Carolina and Pennsylvania were some of the places Alex has visited with the archery program.
"We traveled all over. Getting to see those places is a once in a lifetime thing for a lot of people and it's a great thing to do," he said. "Plus, the people you meet there is just fantastic."
Alex plans on going to college "eventually," he said, for law enforcement.
Dillion O'Brien scored 277 in the bullseye open; Jax Brittain had 258, Rylie Lathen 275, Coby Schmitz 252, Sophie Venator 272, Kylee Schmitz 244.
Moore finished in third place with 292 and Kaylie Lyon, 284, finished in eighth place to earn spots in the Bullseye Championship tournament.
In the 3D open tournament, Jax Brittain shot a personal best at 286 and was the male overall high score to win the tournament, which earned him a spot in the championship round. In the bullseye championship tournament, Jatin Moore had 291 and Kaylie Lyon had 276, Alex Brittain had 288. Shanna Fellows had 294 and finished in fifth place.
In the 3D championship tournament, Michael Harter had 283, Jatin Moore 283, Sophie Venator 287, Rylie Lathen 278, Dillion O'Brien 254, Coby Schmitz 223. Shanna Fellows, 291, finished in seventh place. Kaylie Lyon had 294 and finished in second place and female overall runner up.