Photo/ Billy Pope

Aaron Stork of Alma Bryant High School, center, was the top-scoring male at the National Archery in the Schools State Championship in Montgomery. He is shown with Deputy Conservation Commissioner Ed Poolos, left, and National Wild Turkey Federation representative Craig Scruggs.

Archery has been practiced as a sport throughout all of recorded history. While it may be an ancient pastime, its future looks very bright along the Alabama Gulf Coast.

Numerous students from Mobile and Baldwin counties compete for their schools. Several have participated at tournaments, including some who have won special recognition.

The National Archery in the Schools (NASP) State Championship took place in Montgomery during April for students in grades 4-12. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) coordinates the program through partnerships with various schools and supporting organizations.

Marisa Futral, NASP coordinator for the ADCNR’s Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division, said the state championship is the culmination of nine regional qualifying events.

“Thousands of archers competed in regional tournaments for a chance to draw their bows in the state championship,” she said. “I’m thrilled to see so many youth excited about archery and hope they continue in the sport.”

Scoring for the event is based on Olympic-style target archery in three divisions (elementary, middle and high school). Competition is at the team and individual levels. Perfect scores are 3,600 points for teams and 300 for individuals.

The top overall male at the state meet was Aaron Stork of Alma Bryant High School, who turned in a score of 293. That total was matched by Savannah Mann of Vinemont Middle School, who was named the overall female champion.

Alma Bryant High, in Irvington, also captured the high school team title with a score of 3,445. In the elementary division, Dixon, also in Irvington, was second at 3,219 while Saraland was third at 3,035.

In the individual rankings, the high scorers included:

• High school females — second, Katherine Michael, Foley, with a score of 292; third, Kasandra Lee Burch, Alma Bryant, with a score of 291;

• High school males — third, Caleb Thornton, Alma Bryant, with a score of 292;

• Elementary school females —– third, Madelyn Audia, St. Luke’s Episcopal, with a score of 276;

• Elementary school males — third, Maurio Shish, Dixon, with a score of 286.

By the end of the competition, 54 youth archery teams had qualified to attend the NASP Eastern National Championship May 10-12 in Louisville, Kentucky. There were 7,450 boys in the event and 6,689 girls.

Alma Bryant had a team score of 3,434 to finish fifth overall out of 237 schools. Among middle schools, Alba, in Bayou La Batre, had 3,100 points to finish 188th out of 265 teams, while Central Baldwin in Loxley had 3,099 points to finish 191st. In the elementary division, Dixon had 3,143 points to finish 14th among 171 teams, while Saraland had 3,035 points to finish 45th.

The highest individual finisher was Caleb Thornton. His score of 297 was third among high school boys, second among 10th graders and third overall among boys.

Other high finishers included:

• Aaron Bentley (Alma Bryant) scored 293, 33rd among high school boys, second among 12th-graders, 38th overall among boys;

• Robert Morgan (St. Paul’s) scored 293, 33rd among high school boys, ninth among 12th-graders, 38th overall among boys;

• Elizabeth Conley (Alma Bryant) scored 292, 22nd among high school girls, eighth among ninth-graders, 29th overall among girls;

• Devin Faucett (Alma Bryant) scored 290,  67th among high school boys, 19th among 10th-graders, 82nd overall among boys;

• Branden Sharlow (Alma Bryant) scored 287, 146th among high school boys, 38th among 10th-graders, 192nd overall among boys;

• Aaron Stork (Alma Bryant) scored 286, 182nd among high school boys, 46th among 10th-graders, 251st overall among boys;

• Tommy Bouler (Alma Bryant) scored 285, 240th among high school boys, 53rd among ninth-graders, 347th overall among boys;

• Katherine Michael (Foley) scored 284, 156th among high school girls, 48th among 9th graders, 243rd overall among girls;

• Chris Botter (Alma Bryant) scored 284 — 261st among high school boys, 74th among 10th-graders, 381st overall among boys;

• Kelleigh Entrekin (Alma Bryant) scored 284, 170th among high school girls, 52nd among ninth-graders, 260th overall among girls;

• Justin Fant (Alma Bryant) scored 284, 286th among high school boys, 62nd among ninth-graders, 428th overall among boys.

Complete results for the NASP Alabama State Championship are available at To view photos from that event, visit Outdoor Alabama’s Flickr page at

Complete results for the Eastern National Championship are available at

Inaugural paddleboard race set

The first stand-up paddleboard (SUP) race on Mobile Bay is set for Saturday, June 9. It will start at 9 a.m. from the beach by the Fairhope Docks Marina (848 Seacliff Drive).

The racers will take off in a sprint to the end of Fairhope pier and back for a 2.5-mile race. A 7-mile race will continue past the pier and down the shore to the Marriott Grand Hotel and back.

DIRK Boards, a local Fairhope-based SUP and surfboard builder, is organizing the event.

“Mobile Bay is a great paddling location that needs to be experienced,” said Dirk McCall, a DIRK Boards designer. “Conditions can be flat and then a breeze will pick up and create a downwinder. Sometimes we even get wave sets because the bay is so shallow, which is really challenging. There isn’t a better way to see it than to do it.”

The race, sanctioned by the World Paddle Association, will have eight divisions — for men and women age 50 and over, 18 to 49 and 18 and under in surf style and longer displacement hulled boards. Custom woodcut awards from Bear Walker, an internationally renowned woodworker and skateboard designer, will be given to the top three in each division.

Little Red Hen Productions will manage digital timing. For race registration, please visit or