FARMINGTON — A Farmington school and two Aztec schools will be sending archery teams to a national competition next month, an impressive feat considering two of the three programs were formed this school year.
The archery teams at Mesa View Middle School in Farmington, Aztec High School and Koogler Middle School in Aztec will be traveling to the National Archery in Schools national competition in Louisville, Ky., in May.
Aztec high took first in the high-school category and Koogler won the middle-school category. Mesa View trailed with second place for high schools at the state competition held at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho in March.
Mesa View and Aztec high formed their teams this school year.
"I'm impressed with the way they shot at state, there was a lot of pressure and it didn't phase them at all," Mesa View coach Nick Delay said. "Most of them shot better at the state tournament than they do here at practice."
Mesa View eighth-grader Paloma Villalobos never fired a bow and arrow before joining the archery team but she took first place in the middle-school category at state tournament.
"I think it's pretty cool because we didn't practice a lot," Villalobos said. "Here at practice, I didn't do that good but over at state, I did pretty good."
Teammate Allen Bradshaw took second place, just two points behind Villalobos' score of 279.
The archery programs are funded through a grant from New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. Aztec high coach Brent McFarland said the programs build upon the interest in archery in the area.
"A lot of the kids shoot in 4H (programs) and are hunters," McFarland said. "That's one of the reasons we started it up here. It gives kids a different opportunity to get involved with the school."
McFarland's team is comprised of students who competed on the Koogler team, which is in its third year.
Aztec high took the top two spots for individuals in the high school category with Clint Valerio taking first place and Douglas Hood in second. The team defeated defending champion Albuquerque Institute of Math and Technology by 167 points.
"Our team did really, really well as far as the shoot goes," McFarland said.
Koogler coach Wes LePlatt said the program will be competing at nationals as a team for the first time, having sent individuals the previous two school years.
The Koogler team used to include students from Aztec high until they formed their own team this school year.
LePlatt said he is working with his team on their focus and concentration as they prepare for nationals.
"They see a pretty high correlation with focus as their scores go up," LePlatt said.