By Gene Phelps
The wait was a long one, but well worth it for Saltillo’s archery team.
The Tigers recorded an impressive 3,360 score Tuesday on the first day of the Archery in Mississippi Schools (AIMS) State Shoot in Jackson, but had to wait until the completion of Wednesday’s round to know their fate.
Saltillo’s lofty score won the program its third straight Class 5A and overall state championships in the third year of the state competition.
“You sit and wait,” said first-year head coach Eric Reynolds, who was as assistant for two seasons. “You count down the hours.”
Reynolds liked the idea of shooting on the first day, then coming home to wait.
“When you shoot on Tuesday no scores are posted,” he said. “It takes the pressure off your shooters. It helped not having to worry about shooting a certain score to win.
“I told my team, we’re here to set the score, not reach it.”
Landon Jones posted a 293 score to lead boys while Tori Thornberry was the top girls shooter with a 279.
“I’m proud of this group of shooters,” Reynolds said. “They are undefeated in three years. They’ve gone beyond what anybody expected them to do.”
Coach John Tigner’s Mantachie Mustangs, the Class 2A state champions, had a long wait, too. They posted a 3,306 score Tuesday before heading back to Itawamba County.
“The anticipation is tough,” he said. “We had a great score and we shot great. That was the best score we’ve had all season.”
Hatley, East Union and New Site finished second through fourth in the 11-team field.
Lane Scribner and Greg Cooper posted the top boys scores with 286s. Summer Dill was the girls top shooter with a 277.
“This is a great group of kids, who’ve worked hard for this,” Tigner said.
Tremont now knows that every shot counts.
The Eagles captured their first Class 1A state championship with a 5-point win against Northeast Mississippi foe Smithville – 3,162 to 3,157. Pine Grove was third with a 3,130.
“We shot first Wednesday and left the arena to go eat,” Tremont coach Sandy Webb said. “Then we came back to watch (Smithville).”
When the scores were posted, Tremont remained on top, but Webb didn’t let her team celebrate until it was officially announced.
“Then we cheered,” she said. “I’m proud of my kids. They’ve out in so many hours to get better.”
Trenton Timms led the Eagles boys with a 294 score while Tammy Sanderson was fourth on the team and the top girl with a 267.
Amory’s Andrew Kizzire posted the shoot’s top boys score with a 295. Nettleton’s Candice Barnes had a 289 to lead the girls.