ELKINS – Two members of the Elkins Middle School archery team qualified to compete in the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources’ Archery in the Schools state tournament slated for noon Saturday at the Charleston Civic Center.

Eighth-graders Grace Caldwell and Taylor Maynard shot high enough marks in the qualifying tournament to compete for the state championship. The EMS team has 14 members and this is the first year participating in organized competition.

“They have both worked very hard at practice,” coach Nick Alfred said. “They both shot really well in the qualifier. This is the first year we’ve had a team, so the girls have not competed on this level before. They are both very competitive, so I think that will help. Hopefully they will both do well in the competition.”

In the qualifying tournament, Caldwell finished with a score of 256 and Maynard scored 255. Out of the 130 female competitors in the middle school division, Caldwell’s score ranks 29th and Maynard’s 30th.

Sponsored by the DNR, Alfred explained the Archery in Schools competition uses a special compound bow that doesn’t include a sight or a bow release.

He said the archer has to rely on “instinctive shooting.”

For the contest, archers shoot three rounds of five arrows from both 10 meters and 15 meters.

The Snowshoe Foundation provided funding to help get the archery team started at EMS, Alfred said.

“Without their help, we never would have gotten this program off the ground,” Alfred said. “We are very appreciative of their support.”

For additional information on the DNR’s Archery in the Schools Program, contact Krista Snodgrass at (304) 558-2771 or via email at Krista.R.Snodgrass@wv.gov.