FORT THOMAS MATTERS: Highlands to Add Archery Next Year
Archery has been sanctioned by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association since the 2012-13 school year.
A number of schools in Northern Kentucky have teams and the Highlands Title IX committee recently did a student survey showing a strong reason to recommend the school board approve adding it. Highlands Director of Athletics Matt Haskamp said more than 70 kids want to participate in the sport and school board member John Weyer said he does not see a reason why the board won't approve it.
Haskamp even said the Northern Kentucky Athletic Conference is looking to develop a championship for it next year. The NASP (National Archery in the Schools) works with KHSAA to provide training and support for schools.
"Kids have asked ever since I became the AD, 'Hey, what about archery," Haskamp said. "It was very evident in the information that we got from our survey that that's next sport we need to consider. We considered making it a club (sport) this year but we had a hard time finding space and finding somebody wanting to sponsor it."
Weyer said he hopes the program takes off like the bowling teams did. The Highlands bowling teams took off quickly and are among the best in the state with a number of appearances in the state tournament.
"Archery is going to be about opportunities," Weyer said. "We're behind the curve as far as getting it started. From my standpoint, it's going to a whole different set of athletes that are going to get a chance to represent their school and that's what we're looking for. I don't think that it's going to pull from our other sports."
In region tournaments, a minimum of 12 archers to a maximum of 24 archers fires one flight consisting of three 10-Meter scoring ends and three 15-Meter scoring ends. The top 12 scores are combined to make up the team score.
The winning and state runner-up teams from each region advance to the state tournament that took place at the Kentucky Basketball Academy in Lexington this year. Individuals placing in the top three at each region competition that are not on the region champion or runner-up squad also qualify for the state tournament.
Haskamp is the chairman of the Title IX committee at Highlands. But he said Title IX did not have much to do with the school adding the sport.
"When you talk gender equity, it's one thing. It is co-ed anyways," Haskamp said. "They compete at the same events. If you look at the state and region winners, a lot of the top archers are females. Teams are usually mixed pretty well."
A couple current students serve on the Highlands Title IX Committee. One is Ladybirds basketball standout Zoie Barth. Barth is often one of many students in the stands supporting her classmates at different sporting events.
"When we brought it up in the meeting, I wasn't familiar with it. It's a different sport from what we already offer," Barth said. "I think it could be challenging at first. But once we get everything under the belt, I think everything will be super supportive of it. I've never been to an archery event so I think it would be cool to go out and watch one."
Haskamp said the next step in the process after the school board approves adding the sport is hiring a coach then figuring out a location for home games. The games mainly take place indoors. Haskamp said the team might play all its games on the road the first year until a home game location is figured out. But he does not want the site for home games to alternate because the sport involves housing a lot of equipment such as a safety net.
Trigg County won the first three state championships and Madison Central has won the last two. Simon Kenton, Ryle and Pendleton County placed in the top 20 at the state tournament this year. Simon Kenton's Paige Robbins ended up finishing second individually in the female division.
Story by G. Michael Graham