Bluffsview Elementary School won first place in the state archery tournament March 1.
The 2013 National Archery in the Schools state tournament was held at Veterans Memorial in conjunction with the Arnold Sports Festival.
A total of 1,446 archers from 78 teams competed at the elementary, middle and high school levels.
Bluffsview edged out Logan-Hocking Elementary School by a score of 3,182 to 3,181. Winning the tournament was a thrill for the team, especially winning by one point against the team that has been the favorite in recent year.
"To win by one point -- considering 12 archers that were scored shot 30 arrows each for a total of 360 arrows shot by each team -- over such a top-notch program is thrilling," said Ben Wilson, Bluffsview physical education teacher and archery team adviser.
The team also qualified for the national championships to be held in Louisville, Ky., May 10 and 11.
Seven Bluffsview archers earned individual honors. They are Brian Wilson, first place, fourth-grade boys; Cayden Dougherty, third place, fourth-grade boys; Jacob Fisher, fourth place, fourth-grade boys; Hannah Miller, fourth place, fourth-grade girls; Theren Handlon, fourth place, fifth-grade boys; Madison Kelley, fifth place, fifth-grade girls; and Anna Ezell, second place, sixth-grade girls.
The archery program at Bluffsview was started four years ago as part of the physical education class.
Wilson said he was surprised to see how many students have become hooked on the sport, especially many students who had showed no interest in traditional sports.
To purchase the expensive archery equipment, the school received a grant from the Worthington Educational Foundation and one from the Ohio Division of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.
After acquiring equipment, Wilson decided to try an after-school archery club. He planned to limit the club to the first 60 students and would have one session per week for two groups of students (30 students per session for six weeks).
He had students literally lining up outside the gym door on the morning that enrollment began, he said.
"I didn't have the heart to turn students away, so we created another day to accommodate the 81 students who wished to participate," he said. "It was awesome."
The archers practice once or twice each week after school and once or twice each week during lunch recess.
Wilson said the greatest value is the opportunity to learn the many life lessons, such as focus, precision, consistency, self-control and self-evaluation. Learning from mistakes and having a positive attitude are so easily integrated into archery, he said.
"It has been great to see students who don't typically participate in sports get recognition and gratification from archery," he said.
The team really emphasizes striving for a "personal best," he said. Students ring a bell and are recognized with a cheer and applause when it occurs.
"We encourage students to simply strive to reach their full potential and hope that lesson goes with them beyond archery," he said.