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Alpena aims true in high school archery championship, Barton and Taylor take Middle School and Elementary divisions

BY Randy Zellers

ON 03-05-2024

Alpena first place

HOT SPRINGS — Alpena High School claimed first place at the Archery in the Schools state championship in the Hot Springs Convention Center and Bank OZK Arena Saturday with their top 12 archers posting a decisive score of 3,358 out of a possible 3,600 points. The feat completed their steady climb to the top of Arkansas’s high school archery ranks, besting their second-place score of 3,276 last year and their third-place finish (3,250 points) in 2022.

Valley Springs High School took second place with 3,315 points, narrowly surpassing Bryant High School, who fell one arrow short and claimed the number three spot in the High School Division. Last year’s champion, Bergman High School, finished fourth with a score of 3,294, and Taylor High School rounded out the top spots in the High School Division with a fifth-place score of 3,290.

Aimee Swaim, interim Archery in the Schools coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, said the level of competition throughout the two-day event was markedly higher than last year, noting that four of the top five high school teams completed their day with scores that would have claimed first place only a year ago.

“All of the more than 2,000 students competing at this year’s tournament earned their spot through 24 qualifiers that took place from December through January,” Swaim said. “This year was the first year we tried the state qualifier format instead of regional meets. All of the coaches I talked to really liked the qualifier format because it gave their students much more opportunities to practice and prepare for the state tournament. All of the archers were extremely proficient shooting their bows at 10 and 15 meters by the time they took their first shots at the tournament. That’s all thanks to the great teachers, coaches and parents who support Archery in the Schools in their school district.”

El Dorado’s Barton Junior High took first place in the Middle School Division for the second year in a row, scoring 3,293 total points during Friday’s competition. Their score also would have taken first-place during last year’s high school competitions. Taylor Middle School took second place with a score of 3,277. Charleston Middle School finished third with a score of 3,222.

Taylor Elementary claimed the first-place trophy in the Elementary Division by the narrowest of margins, scoring 3,041, only one point higher than second-place finisher Valley Springs Elementary’s 3,040-point score. Charleston Elementary took the third-place spot in the Elementary Division with a score of 3,028.

Jose Jimenez, chief of the AGFC’s Recreational Shooting Division, said the energy from the tournament was truly energizing.

“With the devotion of an entire agency division toward shooting sports, we’re eager to grow out programs, increase participation and improve our programs,” Jimenez said. “As our programs improve, so will our participants’ confidence and proficiency with handling archery and firearms in a safe manner, which is one of the largest obstacles to overcome in becoming a hunter or recreational shooter.”

In addition to team competitions, all archers were competing for individual awards. Hunter Ricketts of Lead Hill High School and Pangburn High School’s Ashton McKee both had a total score of 292 on the day, separating themselves from the 308 other male shooters in the High School Division. In the end, Ricketts took the first-place trophy, as his score included 25 bull’s-eyes, while Mckee finished second, falling one bull’s-eye short of forcing a shootoff for the top prize. Zachary Allen of Deer/Mt. Judea and Jacob Roberts of Bergman High School, did go head-to-head in the day’s only shootout to determine third place after scoring 289 with identical marks. Allen claimed third place in a two-round shootoff, and Roberts finished in fourth place. Logan Wilkinson rounded out the top five in the High School Men’s Division with a score of 288.

“This was the first time in years that we had scores so close that we had to have a shootout to determine a winner,” Swaim said. “It’s another testament to the increased level of competition the qualifier format brought this year’s tournament.”

Brooklyn Carmical from Cabot High School was the top archer in the High School Ladies Division, posting an impressive 291. Lily Walker of Bentonville High School was second with a score of 287. Third through fifth place was an extremely tight race, as all three of those archers shot scores of 286. The scores had to be determined by the number of bull’s-eyes each archer shot. Maddie Johnson from Charleston High School took third place with 19 bull’s-eyes, Reagan Day’s 18 bull’s-eyes placed her in fourth place, and Holly Chandler rounded out the three-way tie taking fifth place with 17 bull’s-eyes on the day.

The top five finishers in the Men’s and Ladies’ High School Division received scholarship checks ranging from $2,500 to $500 for their achievements.

The top boy and girl archers in the Middle School Division were Koen Masingale of Ozark Junior High, who shot 288, and Millie Rambin of Star City Middle School, who posted a score of 286. Jhett Jennett of Valley Springs Elementary was the top archer in the Boy’s Elementary Division with a score of 280. Zackary Harget of Washington Middle School also scored 280 points, but fell just short with 15 bull’s-eyes in his final tally, compared to Jennett’s 16. Adarah Carter of Valley Springs Elementary School was the highest scoring girl in the Elementary Division with a final score of 267.

The AGFC’s Archery in the Schools Program teaches students the sport of archery using modern compound bows that will fit a wide range of users. Teachers and other school staff learn from the AGFC’s archery instructors how to bring this sport back to their students and offer them a sport that children of nearly any size and ability are able to enjoy.

Visit for more information about Archery in the Schools and a complete list of team and individual scores.





Alpena High School won the 2024 Archery in the Schools State Championship after placing second in 2023 and third in 2022.

More than 2,000 students and 96 schools were represented at this weekend’s Archery in the Schools competition. 

Hunter Ricketts of Lead Hill was the top shooter overall in the Men’s High School Division, earning a trophy, bow and $2,500 scholarship. His score of 292 included 25 bull’s-eyes in 30 shots. 

Brooklyn Carmical of Cabot was the top female shooter in the High School Division, earning $2,500, a bow and a trophy. Her score was only 9 points from being perfect for the day. 

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