Monday, April 21, 2014

Rhodes aiming for perfect score

   Nick Rhodes, sophomore, is taking the expression “shoot straight” to heart. In the West Virginia State Archery tournament at Shady Spring, Rhodes set a world record for the highest archery score for a sophomore. Rhodes beat the previous record of 297, shooting one “9” and 29 “10’s” in a row, increasing the record to 299 out of a perfect 300.

   “I didn’t think it was real,” said Rhodes.

   Rhodes, no novice with the bow and arrow, has been shooting on school archery teams since sixth grade. His father shoots for sport and introduced him to archery when he was three years old, so the sport has never been unfamiliar to him. In the off-season, Rhodes practices on his own shooting range equipped with targets in the form of bag targets, deer, turkeys, and wild boars in order to prepare for competition season.

   Practicing on a team that has always performed so well could put many people under a significant amount of pressure, but Rhodes describes practices as “cool and laid back.” Rhodes and his fellow Ripley High archers try to bring this demeanor to meets, even those as important as the state, national, and world events.

   “I’m just relaxed because I’m used to it,” said Rhodes.

   At the state tournament March 29, Rhodes was aware of the 297 world record and knew immediately that his score of 299 had surpassed it. Still, Rhodes was pleasantly surprised with his impressive feat. All the same, his fellow teammates and coaches were thrilled to have a world record holder on their team.

   Even though the Ripley High archery team has already had a major accomplishment in winning States, they aren’t finished yet. The national tournament will be held in Louisville, Kentucky May 9-10. If 2013’s results are any indication, Ripley should be a top contender at the tournament, having scored a combined score of 3412 and ranking 5th out of 156. Rhodes’s score at the 2013 national tournament was an already impressive 292, which he is looking to top this year. It remains to be seen what the results will be in 2014, but Rhodes’s personal goal is one that every talented archer hopes to achieve one day.

   “I want to shoot a perfect score,” said Rhodes.

And with a score of 299 on his shoulders, there is a strong possibility that he someday will.

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