Daviess County Archery coach Mike Wilson remembers the program’s humble roots. Five years ago, Wilson set out to provide his son with a competitive outlet after high-impact sports were ruled out due to severe injuries.
What started out as a simple hobby has quickly become the fastest growing sport in Daviess County Public Schools. In just five years, the team has grown from a single member — the coach’s son, Lane — to more than 30 student-athletes this past season.
Wilson isn’t sure exactly what has made the program grow so rapidly amongst students, but he said he has a hunch as to what has maintained the success rate of his team throughout the expansion.
“Our team is self-funded and relies greatly on the help of sponsors,” Wilson said. “Without them, our teams would not be where we are today. Archery is an expensive sport. To be able to offer student-athletes all the items they need to practice takes a great deal of funding.”
From equipment to indoor bales, 3D targets and other equipment necessary for the team to practice, there is plenty of need for sponsorships. Daviess County Archery has relied heavily upon the blessings of the Daviess County Lion’s Club in recent years, who Wilson said has provided a permanent home for his previously nomadic competitors.
“The Lion’s Club has generously given us the use of their fairgrounds for our team to use as a practice facility,” Wilson said. “When we first started the archery team at DCHS, we started practice in the softball building with only being able to shoot a maximum of 9 yards.”
Eventually, they were able to move out to Country Heights Elementary School, where the team used the school’s gym on nights that is was available.
“Sometime later we approached the Daviess County Lion’s Club about using their facility and it has been an amazing blessing,” Wilson said. “We now have the space we need to practice sufficiently.”
With more than 140 youth archers competitively shooting among the different teams, the large facility was a much-needed location. As the number continues to increase, Wilson’s ultimate dream is to find an archery complex within the county where all teams and clubs could be accommodated.
With their continued growth has come success at both the local and national levels.
This season, DCHS Archery placed second in indoor nationals in team competition. Daviess County had multiple first- and second-place finishes, giving students exposure to college scouts, which Wilson says are present at every competition.
Wilson said the involvement of volunteers, coaches, and parents has fostered an atmosphere that has allowed student-athletes to not only find great success in competition and in sport, but also in the classroom and in life.
“There are many archers and every archer is a champion to us,” Wilson said. “I would love to say that our archers are the key to this program but ultimately the parents are. They provide the means necessary to supply the kids with all the equipment and transportation they need.
“Additionally, without our coaching staff, none of our success would have been possible. There is no way one or two people could handle the demands of practice, and I’m grateful to our contingency of adults. It’s truly an all-hands-on-deck endeavor.”