PELION, SC — Four years ago, Pelion Elementary started an archery team that won no state championship medals.
In year four, the Panthers made it all the way to the National Schools Archery Program Open Championship June 23-25 and won two national titles. One for team bullseye (shooting at a conventional target) and one for 3D archery (shooting at a three-dimensional animal-shaped target).
The PES team is made up of 23 students and coaches Colby Coulter, Cassie Boatwright and Nicole Shumpert.
To earn a spot in national competition, the team traveled to Kentucky in May for the Eastern Division Qualifying Tournament. In this qualifier, they placed sixth in the bullseye contest and 11th in the 3D contest, out of nearly 130 elementary schools.
They returned for the national championship to face 24 qualifying teams from the East and West divisions.
Two individual archers also placed in the Top 5. Third year Paisley Hinkle placed 3rd in the 3D competition and Ruby Salcedo placed 4th in the 3D competition. Both girls were already state title holders as Hinkle won the South Carolina Bullseye contest and Salcedo won the 3D contest in April.
In April, Pelion Elementary also won the state competition, along with Carolina Springs Middle School and White Knoll High School – a sweep for Lexington District 1 schools.