By Matt Ledger
Eight archers at New Hope High School set goals, took aim and hit the bullseye quicker than anyone expected, winning the state championship in their first year.
“This is a brand-new thing that started this year,” says Doug Solmon, the 3D archery team coach.
Competitive 3D archery involves aiming at point rings on a foam animal target from distances ranging from 5 to 30 yards. Competitors are awarded points based on the predetermined value of spots on the target — from five points for hitting the foam deer or other animal to 12 points for the smallest ring. Facing 20 targets, New Hope’s top three shooters in each tournament have scored in the 205-212 range, causing lopsided victories by an average of 43 points.
“I’ve got one kid, Adam Reed, who had never shot a bow before,” Solmon says. “During his first year in the sport, he made it into the top ten for shooter-of-the-year points in Alabama.” Four of his teammates also made the list during the inaugural season.
The New Hope High School archery team had their sights set high during its first year competing. The team has practiced twice weekly throughout the year and every night for a week leading up to the Alabama state championships. The team went six-for-six in the regional tournaments and won the state tournament on May 9. Jared Solmon finished second overall at state and had the most points during the season, garnering Alabama shooter-of-the-year honors. His teammates Tyler Brown and Gavin King finished third and fifth place, respectively.
“Their shooting improved all year long,” coach Solmon says. “However, going undefeated and winning the state championship is more than I ever expected.”