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LOUISVILLE – The Bullitt East Chargers were in the last flight and made a strong run on Monday in the KHSAA State Archery Tournament at on the Commonwealth Convention Center in downtown Louisville.
Bullitt East was one of 24 teams that qualified for the state finals after they finished first in the Fifth Region Tournament in the middle of February. It was the fifth straight regional power for the red and gold and the second won by the program in KHSAA competition.
(This is the second season that the Kentucky High School Athletic Association has conducted a state championship in archery. In the past, and still now, much of the archery in the state is run under the guidelines of the National Archery in Schools Program.)
In the end on Monday, Bullitt East collected 3,364 points to finish seventh overall. The winning score was a 3,457 by Trigg County while runner-up Madison Central had a 3,401 total. Archery at this stage is dominated by rural schools as the other teams that finished in front of the Chargers were Anderson County, Meade County, Western Hills and Henderson County.
The five schools finishing directly in front of Bullitt East were separated by only 16 points.
“I am very proud of what this team has accomplished,” Bullitt East head coach Jason Waddle said on Tuesday. “We only have two seniors on this team so next year we should be able to build on the past success with our best year ever.”
Archery is a sport where male and females compete together in terms of the building a team score. In addition, there is individual competition that is separated into boys’ and girls’ divisions. Each team has 12 archers of which at least four have to be of the opposite sex.
Monday’s competition in Louisville had 830 competitors.
On the boys’ side, the top scores for Bullitt East included a 288 (300 is a perfect score) for Sam Wilson, a sophomore who finished tied for 16th. Charger junior Daniel Chitwood was tied for 37th with a 285. Bullitt East junior Dylan Gensheimer was only two points behind at 283, but with so many competitors, Gensheimer was 58th overall.
Other Bullitt East scores included a 279 from junior Jerred Rueve, the Fifth Region runner-up a month earlier with a 286. Sophomore Alden Stidom recorded a 277. Justin Hardin, a senior, also had a 277 while sophomore Morgan Vaughn had a 276. Junior Zach Mills finished with a 275 while freshman Phillip Roth had a 273. Additional scores for Bullitt East included a 271 for senior Wes Taylor, a 270 for junior Brad Hatfield and a 269 for sophomore Thomas Lanham. Junior Craig English had a 264 while freshman Dalton Smith had a 254.
In the girls’ competition, Bullitt East freshman Grace Wibbels had a strong day as she finished 11th overall with a score of 287. Wibbels had won the Fifth Region title a month earlier with a 286 total.
Also scoring for the Lady Chargers was freshman Emily Yoakum who was 24th with a 284 finish. In addition, sophomore Jade Harris had a 277, junior Marissa Eschman a 276 and freshman Ashley Kinglsey had a 275. Also scoring on Monday were freshman Katelyn Heppler and sophomore Shelby Hester at 273 while sophomore Shelby Haarman had a 269. A 261 total was collected by sophomore Morgan Daudill while sophomore Sierra Waddle had a 257.
“We have a great mix of high scoring male and female shooters which helps produce high scores week in and week out,” Waddle pointed out. “We have great feeder programs at Eastside Middle and Mount Washington Middle who place first and second at the middle school level in every tournament.”
After one season, the KHSAA realigned the sport in the state this year, taking the Bullitt County teams out of the Sixth Region (which included Jefferson and Oldham) and moving them into the Fifth Region with schools to the south including Hardin and Nelson County.
The Fifth Region championship was held on Feb. 19 at Central Hardin High School. Bullitt East won that competition with a 3,352 total which was well ahead of the 3,307 turned in by Central Hardin. Bethlehem, Hart County and Bardstown were the other teams in the top five.
In the individual scores at the Fifth Region Tournament, Rueve was second on the boys’ side with a 286, three points out of first-place while teammate Stidom was sixth with a 283. In the girls’ individual event, Wibbels won with her 286 while teammate Marissa Eschman, a junior, was third at 278 while freshman Ashley Kingsley was in fourth at 274.
Bullitt Central junior Chloe Buday and Bullitt East sophomore Shelby Haarman tied for seventh with 271 scores.
Waddle’s assistant coaches are Terry Lanham, Brian Eschman and Eric Smith.
Members of the Bullitt East archery program include: Sarah Link, Sierra Waddle, Emily Petri, Thomas Lanham, Halie Smith, Austin Coolidge, Robert Hatfield, Dalton Smith, Grace Wibbels, Riley Vowels, Emily Yoakum, Katelyn Heppler, Jerrod Rueve, Craig English, Dylan Gensheimer, Marissa Eschman, Justin Hardin, Wesley Taylor, Will Spencer, Daniel Chitwood, Thomas Seigle, Jabez Mahan, Jasmine Santiago, Judd Huff, Austin Matthews, Meghan Cook, Skylar Maloney, Ashley Kingsley, Lexi Nation, Aiden Stidom, Drew Couch, Zachery Taylor, Katherine Jump, Hannah Laffew, Phillip Roth, Sam Wilson, Morgain Caudill, Shelby Haarman, Jade Harris, Eli Reiners, Morgan Vaughn, Shelby Hester Brady Key, Brandon Riggs, Dillan Lamkin, Tiffany Prell and Emily Miles.