Ringling Robin Hood: Student tops middle school world championship

Ringling Robin Hood: Student tops middle school world championship

RINGLING, Okla._A local teenager can now call himself a world champion archer.

Mitchell Ritter, a 14-year-old from Ringling, won the 'Archery in Schools' middle school world championship in Nashville this weekend. He competed against 5,175 competitors from five countries, including the United Kingdom and South Africa.

After six ends, or rounds, he shot 297. A perfect score is 300, which has never been achieved at this competition. Archers from 4th-grade through 12th-grade compete in separate divisions, elementary, middle school and high school. Mitchell's score was good enough to rank 3rd in the overall competition.

Ritter says when shooting, it is just you and the target. At the competition, Ritter shot five arrows in each round, which has a maximum score of 50. He only missed one bull's-eye. Ritter says it was a relief when he finally shot his last arrow.

"It's over. I knew I was going to win the middle school, but it was just the question of the overall. After that, I was just kind of nervous about the overall, what other people would shoot, but I was relieved and just excited."

Ritter's coach, Mike Williams, has been coaching the Ringling team for five years. Williams says he is proud of what Ritter was able to accomplish.

"All the pressure is on and he came through, and even to shoot a 49 in the championship round. I mean, that is world-class shooting and that is what I have told people in the community. We take it for granted that we had Mitchell, but I tell them he is a world-class shooter and we just don't understand that, being from Ringling, but I knew that," Williams said.

Ritter hopes to one day be able to compete in archery in the Olympics.

"It's something very competitive, but a lot of people don't see it as competitive," Ritter said.

Ritter is the first from the Ringling archery team to win a world championship. He's also a three-time defending Oklahoma state champion.

The Archery in Schools program started in Kentucky in 2002. It grew to be a nationwide program within a year.