Bullseye! Bobcats take state, head to nationals

The 2012 Belle Terre Elementary School Bobcats archery team.
The 2012 Belle Terre Elementary School Bobcats archery team.
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Phil Drosdick’s Belle Terre Elementary School archery team won the 2012 state title.

School was already out for quite some time Monday, March 5, at Belle Terre Elementary School.

But instead of going to extended day, a group of more than 35 students pack the multipurpose room.

The sound of snapping echoes through the room. Arrows are whistling through the air. Then they hit the target, making a barrage of popping sounds. It’s not quite bow hunting season, but the Belle Terre Bobcats Archery team was in practice mode.

The team is fresh off its 2012 National Archery in the Schools Program state championship, which took place Feb. 25, in Newberry. There were 10 other elementary schools in the competition.

Coach Phil Drosdick spearheaded the archery program in Flagler County schools about five years ago while at Flagler Palm Coast High School. Three years ago, he was relocated to Belle Terre, where he wanted to continue the program. In the program’s three seasons, Drosdick has led the Bobcats to third-, second-, and first-place finishes, respectively, in the past three years.

At the competition, fifth-grader Michelle Taylor won first place as an individual, after taking fifth last year.

Connor Hampton, who is in fourth grade, tied for first before losing in a shoot-off.

The competitions are conducted in Olympic-style format. Each archer gets 15 shots from two distances — 15 meters and 10 meters. The smallest circle closest to the bullseye is worth 10 points, and the points decrease the farther the arrow lands from the center. The maximum points are 150 per distance, or 300 for all 30 shots.

Taylor scored a 239 out of 300 possible points. Hampton scored 258 out of 300.

This is Hampton’s first year on the team. He said his grandmother got him a deer target for Christmas, which has helped him develop accuracy.

“Instead of sitting inside playing video games, I’d go outside and practice,” Hampton said.

Finishing second after the shoot-off at the state competition has kept Hampton hungry for accomplishing something phenomenal at nationals.

“If you put your mind to it, anything is possible,” he said.

The national competition will take place May 11 and May 12, in Louisville, Ky.

Drosdick said the team hopes to raise enough money to bring the required minimum of 24 archers to qualify for the team category, but he hopes he can bring the entire team of 37.

Drosdick is affiliated with Daytona Archers Inc., which puts on a yearly fundraiser for the team. This year’s fundraiser will be March 30, at the club’s range located behind the Daytona International Speedway. The money raised will be used to help get the team to Louisville.

If you’re interested in supporting the Belle Terre Bobcats and their quest to become national champions, check donations can be made out to “Belle Terre Archery” and be dropped off at Belle Terre Elementary School.

Drosdick hopes he can continue to teach his archers to teach fellow students.

“I really enjoy teaching the finer aspects of archery,” he said. “This is so cool.”



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