Cordova Blue Arrows hit the mark
by Johnathan Bentley
May 09, 2014 | 1278 views | 0 0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Cordova Blue Arrows will compete in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) Tournament in Louisville, Kentucky this weekend. Members of the team are, front row from left, Jaqulyn Braswell, Harley Stephenson, Allen Hicks, Patrick Dill, Gabe Gross, Connor Cox and Nick Willis, back row, coach Diana Bickelhaupt, Jordan Perrin, Blaize Nix, Kaylea Ponds and Breanna Brown. Not pictured: Elijah Kilpatrick. Photo by Johnathan Bentley
The Cordova Blue Arrows will compete in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) Tournament in Louisville, Kentucky this weekend. Members of the team are, front row from left, Jaqulyn Braswell, Harley Stephenson, Allen Hicks, Patrick Dill, Gabe Gross, Connor Cox and Nick Willis, back row, coach Diana Bickelhaupt, Jordan Perrin, Blaize Nix, Kaylea Ponds and Breanna Brown. Not pictured: Elijah Kilpatrick. Photo by Johnathan Bentley
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CORDOVA — Cordova has had plenty of success in athletics.

The high school football team has won state championships, while both the baseball and softball teams consistently make the playoffs.

Now Cordova Elementary School is getting into the act.

The Cordova Blue Arrows, made up of fourth and fifth graders at the elementary school, are taking part in the 2014 National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) Tournament in Louisville, Kentucky, this weekend.

Since forming a team just two years ago, the Blue Arrows have grown in number and in skill.

“I had seen something about having an archery team in a magazine, and I got with our principal (Dianne Williams). We both wanted this for our school,” team coach Diana Bickelhaupt said. “From there it has just taken off.”

Taking part in just its second season of competition, the Blue Arrows ranked in the top 5 in the regional tournament and placed 11th in the state tournament to earn a spot in the nationals.

Twelve students — Jordan Perrin, Gabe Gross, Kaylea Ponds, Breanna Brown, Patrick Dill, Nick Willis, Jaqulyn Braswell, Elijah Kilpatrick, Allen Hicks, Harley Stephenson, Connor Cox and Blaize Nix — are making the trek to  Louisville.

“The kids love it. I have kids that don’t play any sport at all, and archery is just their thing that they really enjoy doing. You don’t have to be the best runner or the best hitter, anybody can do it. With the support of the school and principal it’s made it real easy to jump right in,” Bickelhaupt said.

Before last year, Cordova Elementary had no other extra curricular activities. Since the archery team was introduced, the popularity has swelled.

“We do a demonstration for the third graders coming up. It’s like a little expo. Those third graders get fired up and they can’t wait. I have a third grader here who already has his own bow and is ready to go next year. It makes it exciting for me because they are so excited about it,” said Bickelhaupt, who is called Coach B. by her students.

Both boys and girls can try out for the team starting in fourth grade. Cordova Elementary had two teams this year.

Four girls are among the 12 Cordova students who qualified for the nationals.

“That’s one of the things I like about it, is that it includes both my male and female students,” Williams said. “It doesn’t matter how athletic you are. It eliminates the stigma that only a certain type of person can do these things. I like the fact that the girls can compete, and they are competing right along side the boys. There are no divisions. They are all competing together.”

Kaylea Ponds, 11, is one of the girls who will be participating in Louisville.

“I really like shooting because it takes me to a different place where I can be myself for a minute,” Kaylea said. “Kids need to try it because you can do it no matter how tall or how short you are. That’s what I like so much about it.”

Ponds was one of the team’s top scorers at the state tournament, getting a 246 out of a possible 300.

Jordan Perrin, 12, was Cordova’s top finisher at state, compiling 270 points for a fifth-place finish overall.

“Hopefully I can go to world, but I’ve got to do really good at nationals first,” said Perrin, who practices at home on a target in his back yard.

How would he describe archery?

“It’s very fun and awesome,” he said.

Williams said that Bankhead Middle School added an archery team this year.

“I talked to some board members, and they are very interested in keeping it going through high school,” she said. “I see it moving on up into the high school level.”