By Nick Nunn staff writer The members of the Morgan County 4-H Archery team, who competed in the National 4-H Shooting Sports Invitational in Grand Island, Neb., from June 24 to June 29, are back home this week after representing the entire state of Georgia in the tournament. Nick Nicholson, head coach of the 4-H Archery team said that he was pleased with the performances given by both the recurve and compound teams at the national tournament, emphasizing that, at all times, all seven archers showed that they were all members of a single team. “I think they did excellent,” said Nicholson this week after returning from the invitational. “It was an archery team together.” The Morgan County recurve team placed fifth in the national tournament, with Jacob Vaughters placing fifth individually.
The compound team placed 16th among the 24 teams in attendance. Nicholson added that several Morgan County archers shot personal bests at the tournament. Coach Nicholson said that the team’s positive results came in the face of several disadvantages to the Morgan County team, including the way teams are chosen to represent Georgia as opposed to the selection process in other states.
Nicholson explained that Georgia’s representatives to the National Shooting Sports Invitational are chosen based on the team that gets the highest scores, not the individual archers. For example, both the compound and recurve archery teams representing Georgia this year were both made up solely of Morgan County archers because the Morgan County teams scored highest in the state competition. However, other states will make up teams based on individual scores alone, creating teams of “all-stars” being sent to the national tournament from other states. Nicholson also said that the Morgan County recurve team was able to earn its fifth place finish in spite of having only three members in the team. The tournament allows teams to have four members per team, dropping the lowest score from the team to generate the team’s final score. He also discussed the state of training and coaching in the nation overall and its effects on the archers.
Nicholson said that coaches from all states have been increasing their own level of training in the past several years, which has led to archers scoring higher and higher at the national tournament. He speculated that the scores earned by the archers this year at the tournament would have earned higher placements had they shot only a few years ago.
Some of the archers on the team are considering switching from compound to recurve or vice versa for the remainder of their high school 4-H career. Nicholson said that 4-H competitors are no longer eligible to compete in an event at the national invitational once they have already competed in that event. Despite that limitation, archers would be able to compete again if they qualify in the alternate archery division, hence the desire to switch from one to the other.
He said that Vaughters shot a compound bow previous to this season and that he expects Vaughters to cross back to the compound division after this year. Nicholson also expressed his thanks for the assistance the team received from the additional coaches, the parents, financial supporters, and fans, who all helped the Morgan County 4-H team get to the National Invitational this year.