BRAY, OK (KSWO) -The Bray-Doyle Middle School archery team is preparing for the world championships this summer.
The team earned the chance to go to the world games earlier this year while competing at nationals. David Eads, the Bray-Doyle Superintendent and archery coach, says the team has only been in existence for four years. Last year was the first time they placed high enough in the state meet to advance to nationals. This year, they beat out close to 14,000 students to claim the eighth spot in the nation and earn a spot in the world competition.
Eads said it basically boils down to practice. He says before he took over two years ago, there wasn't a consistent practice schedule, but now that the team has that problem solved, he says they've bought into the changes that have lead them to their current success.
The Bray-Doyle archery team is one of the best in the nation, now they are on a mission to prove that to the world.
"It's just really cool to be going to a big thing like this and then coming from a small school. Most small schools don't get to do this. So, it's pretty amazing," said Lesi Mann, a 7th grade student and Bray-Doyle and archery team member.
Mann started with the sport in 5th grade and has been hooked ever since. She says after coming up short at nationals in 2015, she's excited for her team to show off their archery skills to the world. However, she says the team's journey to the big stage hasn't been easy.
"It takes a lot of practice, a lot of focus, you just really have to work on it. It takes a lot of time," Mann said.
Mann's teammate, freshman Joe Lumbert, says he'll need that extra time to help perfect his aim he says is giving him the blues.
"The drawback and having to shoot all the time and hit in the same spot all the time," Lumbert said.
It's that dedication Eads credits with giving his team a shot to be recognized around the world.
"I'd like to see us do this every year. I think we've got the talent and we've definitely got the commitment from the community and their support. I don't see why we can't," Eads said.
Mann and Lumbert say with backing like that, win or lose they'll come out on top.
"Just the experience going that high on the list," Mann said.
"It's always good making it to worlds. I know I did good earlier, and if I do bad it's ok. There's always next year," Lumbert said.
The Bray-Doyle archery team will compete against 4,100 students from across the world. The archery competition takes place June 24 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
The students need around $20,000 to cover their transportation and room and board to make the trip. Eads says they have raised $7,000 toward that goal. He says several local businesses have pledged donations, and he's optimistic they'll reach the goal.