Three Murray County schools will have the chance to bring home national archery championships in their respective divisions.
Woodlawn Elementary and North Murray High each won National Archery in the Schools Program state championships Wednesday at the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry.
Bagley Middle finished second in its division and all three — Woodlawn is the feeder school for Bagley, which is the feeder school for North Murray — have qualified for the national tournament, which takes place in May in Louisville, Ky.
Woodlawn’s score of 3,225 was the highest of any team competing regardless of age division, while Braxton Bates scored a 288 to win the individual male elementary division championship and had the second highest score overall.
Tucker Hemphill (281), Justin Stafford (277) and Dylan Flood (273) also shot well for the Timberwolves.
Despite the win, Woodlawn coach Brad Bates hopes for a better score in two months.
“To be totally honest, I’m tickled that we won, but that is not a good score for us,” he said. “I’d rather win ugly than lose pretty any day of the week. It’s more pressure-packed to be at the state tournament, so you can always expect kids to react different.
“Any time they can go to a setting like that and compete and win, it should build confidence in them. ‘Hey, we survived. It’s not as bad.’”
North Murray (3,202) recorded the next highest team score and Morgan Ray’s 275 was second in the individual female high school standings. Daniel Bennett (280) and Rodney Ray (277) also shot well for the Mountaineers.
“Our county showed up and did the right thing, which is huge,” North Murray coach Meredith Ellington said. “As a team, it was incredible. We brought the first state championship to North Murray High School.”
Bagley (3,059) followed Morgan County (3,093) in the middle school division. The Braves’ Haley Bagley (273) had the best score from the division and won the individual female middle division championship. Cole Herndon (272) also shot well for Bagley.
This is Woodlawn’s fourth state championship since the program started in 2008, and in 2010 the Timberwolves won a world championship. This is North Murray’s first season of competition, and the Mountaineers are continuing what their elementary and middle schools have built.
“It was a very proud moment because we have Woodlawn feed Bagley and Bagley feed North Murray,” coach Bates said. “A lot of the kids on the North Murray team were on our world championship team. Now they are freshmen. ... Bagley Middle was 30 points from us sweeping the state championship.”
If teams do well enough at nationals, they can qualify for the NASP World Champion-ships, which take place in June in Indiana-polis.
Southeast Whitfield’s Billy Young (284) was third in the high school division at the state tournament.