Austin middle schoolers unite through archery

AUSTIN, Texas — Children of all shapes and sizes gather at Lamar Middle School in Austin.

It’s not because of your standard extracurricular activity like basketball or music. It’s the sport of archery, which develops friendships that go far beyond bows and arrows.

“There’s this really cool team environment,” eighth-year captain Amelia McRoberts said. “I’ve met a lot of people here that I wouldn’t normally meet. You walk down the halls and you see other people with this jersey on and you say hello or do activities with them.

The camaraderie paid off this spring when the team won its first Texas State Championship in school history.

“I knew in December that they had a real shot at winning,” coach Jim DeLine said. “It kind of took the rest of the state by surprise. I don’t think anyone really expected us to do that.

The program started as part of the national school archery program in 2012.

“When we started, I had no idea what I was doing,” DeLine said. “We are a great reflection of what can happen when a community comes together on behalf of children.”

DeLine has coached the archery team for the 10 years since its inception.

“He’s really good at things that aren’t just shooting,” archer Ethan Leung-Liu said. “It’s the little things, like our attitude.”

“We talk all the time about lifting each other up and supporting our teammates,” DeLine said.

Intangibles have allowed this program to hit their collective target each season. Next, the Western Nationals in Salt Lake City.

“It’s a huge opportunity. The goal is to get in the top five,” said McRoberts. “That’s what we’re working towards as a team.”

Together as one in archery.

Earnest A. Martinez