Archery team taking flight to Florida for world championship

May 15—An elementary archery team in the region is set to take aim in Daytona Beach this summer.

Students of the Cannonsburg Elementary archery team have excelled this year, shooting their way into the world championship scheduled for early June.

Angie Koutsunis, elementary teacher and archery coach for more than a decade, said the program not only gives young kids a chance to compete as a team, but to compete with themselves.

"It's great for the athletic kids, but it's also great for those kids that are not so athletic," she said. "I have seen so many changes with kids coming out of their shell with this program and this is the most supportive group of kids."

The students have competed in state qualifiers about every weekend from January to about mid-March. Then they had to be in the top 100 elementary schools to go to the state tournament in Louisville. Cannonsburg Elementary placed in the top 50, Koutsunis said.

"From State, they had to have a qualifying score to be able to go onto Nationals," she said. "We just competed last weekend in Nationals. They had to shoot at least a 25-50 and we shot a 28-93."

Parents have banded together for a fundraiser set for Saturday, May 25, where a bake sale and car wash will take place at O'Reilly's on U.S. 60 in Summit.

"We cover all of the team fees and things throughout the year and the parents take care of their transportation," Koutsunis said.

Lexie Cox, a fifth-grader in her second year, has fallen in love with the sport, Christy Conley, her grandmother, said.

"She lives and breathes archery, she loves this sport," Conley said. "She's a shy child, but it has boosted her self-confidence. You can tell she's enjoying it so much.

"As far as her family, we love seeing her up there, it brings us such joy," Conley added. "When she won Nationals, me and her mom were in tears. To see her put herself out there like this, it just brings tears to our eyes."

Cox was voted onto the All-American Academic Archery Team, Conley said.

"That's a big deal. ... To get on that you have to have straight A's, which she has been for most of her elementary life," she said.

Christy Reliford, Cannonsburg's principal, said the students have shown great sportsmanship, cheered each other on and worked together, something she said is "awesome" to see happen outside of the classroom.

"I am so super proud of them, they work hard. It's a really great program and it's good for our kids. They have grown so much this year. A lot of them have reached a really good personal best," she said.

"I got to attend one of the big events we hosted here and it was a great experience. I'd never been until this year and they have done exceptionally well," Reliford said, recalling a memory in her first year as Principal.

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