• 73°

Picayune archery set to begin season

After having tryouts in January, the Maroon Tide archery team is ready for its first taste of competitive action this week.

The team of 24 archers has been practicing three times a week in preparation for the start of the season.

Archery is a team sport, with each individual’s score added together for a team total.

The team with the highest score wins, so that’ll be the goal for the Maroon Tide with its first match on Tuesday followed by another match on Thursday.

However, there have been some changes to the training sessions because of COVID-19.

Each athlete now has their own bow, and the archers have been spread out throughout the practice space to ensure social distancing. “We had to change procedures so we’ve been preparing in that way too. It’s been a little bit of an adjustment, but the kids have done well with it. They’re just happy to be able to participate after last year was cut short because of the shut down. The kids are excited and ready to go,” Coach Brian Edwards said.

One of the best things about the sport is its inclusivity, the coach said.

Anyone with an interest can join the program, which leads to a unique combination of archers.

“The great thing about this sport that people don’t know is you have all walks of life who can do it. I’ve got all walks and any variety of kids can participate,” Edwards said.

Expectations will shift as the season progresses and everyone sharpens their skills. These first couple of competitions will serve as a way for the archers to get back in the rhythm of things. Over time, scores will get better and eventually the hope is that the team will have a good enough collective score to qualify for state.

“You’re just looking for the kids to do their personal best each time and try to improve on it. We’ll get a starting point with the first match. Towards the qualifying we try to set a standard and kind of hope we improve each week,” Edwards said.

There are some junior high students on the team as well this year as the program has branched out to get young people involved.

Archery is a sport where there is documentation of improvement each week due to the scoring systems. Edwards is looking forward to seeing how his new additions improve over the course of the season.

“I’ve got kids who are new to the sport and are coming along. They’re making great strides. It’s exciting to see them improve during the season as they get more in tune with it,” Edwards said.