Benton Middle School’s archery team is ‘bad to the bow. ’
The Tigers dominated the competition at the 2016 National Archery in Schools Program (NASP) world tournament, bringing home two championship titles and bragging rights as the best in the world. All eyes have been on the Bossier Parish town since 2014 when Benton Elementary won the state’s first ever NASP world title.
Then in 2015, Benton Elementary and Benton Middle both brought home world titles in their divisions. But there was some unfinished business at the end of their 2015 season — they wanted a win at nationals.
Coach Terrie Streetman said that looked promising from the very beginning.
“When they cleared 3,400 points at a Haughton tournament, I knew this team would be special,” she said.
The team first took aim at the regional tournament, held at the Shreveport Convention Center. They scored 3,421 points, taking the first place win at the North Regional Archery tournament. The top five shooters were Aidan Haire — who shot a perfect score of 300 points; Averie Halverson, who posted 290 points; Nathan Hardin, with 289; Tucker Gibbs, with 286; and Emma Grace Bunch, who scored a 284.
Then in March, Benton Middle took their ‘A’ game to State, where they rocked it. The team scored 3,416 points in the Bullseye, earning the Archery in Louisiana Schools (ALAS) State Championship in that division. They also scored 1,366 points in the 3D competition to win the state title.
In addition to sweeping the state championships, Benton Middle School’s top archers earned $15,000 in scholarships. Overall awards went to Aidan Haire shot a 294 in the ALAS State Tourney, winning first place in the middle school male division and Anna Robins, who scored a 289 to take the 1st place honor as top female archer.
Behind Ana was Kaitlyn Masters, who shot a 288 and finished in second place. Rounding out the top females was Kaitlyn Misenhiemer, who earned third with a score of 288.
In the middle school male division, Lake Bradford shot a 286, clenching the 5th place spot in the Bullseye. In the 3D tournament, Aidan Haire posted 283 points, again winning the first place prize. Emma Bunch grabbed the first place finish among middle school females, putting 276 points on the board. Lake Bradford also exhibited his bow and arrow prowess, earning the second place spot among males and Trey Winkler shot a 279, taking fifth place.
In May, the team was off to Louisville, KY for the NASP National Tournament, where Benton Middle scored 3,404 points, placing them first among 205 middle school teams in the nation.
And as if it couldn’t get any better, it did.
At the 2016 NASP World Tournament, held in Myrtle Beach, SC, the Benton Middle School Archery team hit the bullseye — capturing first place in both the Bullseye and 3D World Archery Championships.
The team killed it in the Bullseye division, scoring 3,444 points to earn the World title. Abbie Rutledge scored a 291, ranking her fourth best in the world out of 834 female archers. The Benton Tigers weren’t satisfied with just one title. They went on to compete in the NASP World IBO 3D Challenge, scoring 1,436 points and winning their second World Championship title.
Individual archers who had exceptional performances in the 3D competition were Emma Bunch, who shot 291 points and entered into a shoot-off to take the top spot and the title of the best 3D female archer in the world. Kaitlyn Misenheimer also had a shoot-off and scored 289 points, taking third best female in the world. Aidan Haire was also on his mark, scoring 289 points to rank third best male shooter in the IBO 3D Challenge.
Haire said he worked a lot harder this year and practiced just about every day at Hoot and Holler Archery in Bossier City, where he has gone since the fifth grade.
“Everything has paid off,” he said. “This feels like the best thing in the world.”
Altogether, this season the Benton Middle Archery team won $15,000 in scholarships; two Ruby Red Genesis Bows; nine first place team trophies; 18 individual archer awards; one ALAS Regional title; one ALAS state title; one NASP National title; one NASP World title; and one NASP World IBO 3D Challenge title.
Benton Middle School’s archery team is coached by Terrie Streetman and Jessica Benoit. Both say they are very proud of their team.
“I couldn’t ask for better. They are all talented shooters,” Streetman said. “We are going to miss our eighth graders, but I know they will do great things in high school. I can’t wait to see how they do.”
Benton Elementary School
Benton Elementary is no stranger to winning.
The elementary team brought home back to back world titles in 2014 and 2015. With only four archers remaining from last year’s world champion team, Coach Perry Norcross built another winning team in 2016.
At the North Regional tournament, Benton Elementary took first place in the elementary division. Then at state, the team placed first in both the Bullseye and 3D competition.
In 3D at the state level, Drew Martin scored a 272, putting him in second place out of 70 competitors. Drew hit the center mark for sure in the state Bullseye overall, shooting a 277 and winning first place out of 181 elementary boys competing.
In the elementary girls’ division, Makenzie Puckett shot a 275, ranking her first out of 102 archers. Also in the State Bullseye, Eden Old posted a 270, earning her a third place finish.
Next, it was on to Nationals, where the Tigers took fifth place in the Bullseye and first in the 3D competition. Two lady Tigers were exceptional stand-outs. In the 3D competition, Madeline Lowry shot a 282, ranking her second in the nation among 392 elementary girls. Right behind her was Eden Old, whose score was 278, ranking her third.
After that, it was off to the World Championship, a familiar territory for the Benton Elementary Tigers. The team once again showed they have what it takes.
In the 3D category, Benton Elementary had an impressive showing, earning them the second place berth at the world level. In the Bullseye competition, the Tigers did it again, capturing the second place spot, making them runners-up in the elementary world division.
Haughton Middle School
The Haughton Middle archery team is coached by Valerie and Joe Kirchoff and they had a great year.
The team placed second in the state Middle School Division. Especially impressive is Haughton Middle is an All-Academic team and, at the National Tournament, was named among the top three finalists for the prestigious “On Target for Life” award in the community service category. This award recognizes powerful examples of how in-school archery has positively impacted the lives of students and adults.
Haughton’s team gives back to the community by hosting the “Bucs and Bullseyes” archery camp. Instead of charging admission to the parent/archer night, the team asks everyone for donations to Bossier City Animal Control. They also make cards to distribute during Veterans Day.
At the world competition, Haughton went on to place 24th out of 79 middle school teams — the top third of the best middle school teams across the globe.
Katherine Haakenson, a seventh grader at Haughton Middle, said she’s definitely looking forward to being on the team again next year. “This is a big accomplishment,” she said.
“Every night after a competition, I would go home or back to our hotel and look at the results. Seeing my name was almost unbelievable.” Next year, Haakenson hopes to make it to the top 20 or top 50 in the world. “I want to help our school and community get recognized,” she said.
Eighth grader Thomas Byrd encouraged next year’s middle school team to never give up. “Work your hardest and do your best,” he said.
Kingston Elementary School
The Kingston Elementary archery team is coached by Kimberly and Randy Searcy and Wayne Gleason and what a year they’ve had.
This was Kingston’s first year to have an archery team and they sure made their mark. At Regionals, Kingston placed second with a score of 2,891. George Chambers came in first among all elementary boys, shooting a 276. Kale Gleason was right behind him, taking second place with a 269.
At State, Kingston grabbed second place in Bullseye and third in 3D. George Chambers shot a 272, ranking him fourth among all elementary boys in the Bullseye. Eason Searcy came in fifth place with a 269 in Bullseye. In the 3D category, Thomas Allen shot an impressive 279 and captured the top spot, winning first place in the elementary boys division.
At Nationals, Kingston placed sixth out of 156 teams in the Bullseye. The Cubs came in eighth out of 66 teams in the 3D competition.
It was then on to the World tournament, where Kingston placed fourth out of 54 teams in the Bullseye, shooting a 3,212. They also had an impressive third place finish out of 16 teams in 3D with a score of 1,355. Kennedy Halsell shot a 276 in the 3D competition, ranking her fourth in the world among all elementary girls.