AZTEC — The archery club at C.V. Koogler Middle School in Aztec hopes to hit the bullseye with its first tournament fundraiser on Saturday.

Archery coach Wes LePlatt said the fundraiser will help the club purchase new arrows and will help eighth-grader Brad Canion pay for his trip to the national competition of the National Archery in Schools Program in May.

Canion took first place at the state competition in February, and the team finished second.

"It feels cool. It's something I've enjoyed and like to do," Canion said. "It felt like something I always wanted to do."

The New Mexico Game and Fish Department donated arrows for the club when it started three years ago, and now the arrows need to be replaced, LePlatt said.

"(The arrows) have been through a lot of wear and tear," LePlatt said. "We hope buying new arrows will extend the program."

Saturday's tournament will consist of two sessions, starting with an open session for students in fourth- through eighth-grade competing for team trophies and individual medals.

Hermosa Middle School in Farmington and Ernie Pyle Middle School in Albuquerque will be competing at the tournament.

The second session is open to shooters 16 years old and above.

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Students competing in the archery program at Koogler have seen an improvement in their grades, LePlatt said. The grades of the 25 students in the club rose from a cumulative 2.92 GPA at the beginning of the school year to an 3.68 GPA the week before the state competition.

"They came up tremendously. The students are becoming and more responsible," LePlatt said.

Students in the club are also learning about accountability, teamwork and discipline, he said.

"Since we are giving them a bow and arrow, if they don't line up correctly or are involved in any horse-play, we eliminate them," LePlatt said. "It has really cleaned them up discipline-wise."

LePlatt said he enjoys coaching the archery program because it provides an opportunity for students who may not compete in other school sports.

"Some of the students are hunters, some are not," LePlatt said. "It doesn't matter if you are big or little, a boy or girl. There is not a stereotype of who can do it."

Joshua Kellogg can be reached at jkellogg@daily-times.com; 505-564-4627. Follow him on Twitter @jkelloggdt

Want to go?
What: Koogler Archery Tournament
When: 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Koogler Middle School, 455 N. Light Plant Road, Aztec
Session 1 will be open for fourth- through eighth-grade students. It starts at 1 p.m. and has a $5 entry fee.
Session 2 will be open for any shooter 16 years old and older.  It starts at 6 p.
m. and has a $15 entry fee.
More info: Contact Wes LePlatt at 505-334-6102