Busbee Archery Team Wins State Tournament Invitational

The Busbee Creative Arts Academy archery team (lr): back row Timia Riley, Madelyn Bjorn, Mason Williams, Jesse Everett, Averrie Bailey, Jaiya Johns, Sara Pittman, Gianni Vargas and Wesley Daniels; Front row Colton Jennings, Dylan Sharpe, Zeke Baddourah, Edson Alarcon-Garcia and Charlotte Wojcik. Absent from photo: Sophia Brooks and Michael Shealy.

The Busbee Creative Arts Academy Archery Team competed in the SCDNR-sponsored National Archery in Schools (NASP) National Archery Tournament at the Sumter Civic Center on Thursday, March 31. The team was invited to participate in the bullseye event and the IBO/3-Event D (animal targets).

You have to earn an invitation to the event and this was the first time the school team won a team invitation. This invite was won by team score in a regional competition on March 12. Throughout the year, the team steadily increased its team score and personal bests despite having to work with COVID protocols and omicron issues in January where only five or six members were able to participate due to illness or quarantine.

Although Busbee came 12th out of 15 teams in the bullseye, the team’s score was 77 points short of the cut score for an invitation to the US East Nationals tournament. However, Zeke Baddourah’s score of 278 out of 300 ranked him in the top ten of all middle schoolers at the state-level event. That top-ten finish earned him an invite to the US Eastern Nationals Tournament in Louisville, Kentucky in May.

Zeke Baddourah has earned an invite to the US East National Tournament in Louisville.

Zeke Baddourah has earned an invite to the US East National Tournament in Louisville.

What is very exciting is that last year Busbee was unable to field a team and competed in virtual events as individuals with just six archers. This year, Busbee has fielded a team of 16 archers with one returner and seven who have no archery experience. The rest had either recreational experience or participated in the archery program at the feeder school (Saluda River Academy for the Arts).

Baddourah falls into the recreational experience.

“I’ve been amazed at his natural ability to focus and progress in the sport since his initial training in October,” said head coach Robin Gerzema.

He had previously placed fifth overall among middle schoolers in the Panda Challenge earlier in the season. Baddourah is an academic archer, meaning he has retained the grades and character to be referred to as a leader in the field. Busbee has nine of our 16 archers with this designation.

Going forward, the team will compete in the NASP Bownanza (March Madness Brackets) against schools nationwide. Busbee is the only college in South Carolina to participate in this event. Busbee has reached the second round and will soon find out if he reaches the third round. The team also plans to participate in the Open/Championship in June. Coach Gerzema is assisted by coach Dru Pittman. Busbee has been practicing archery since 2016.

Earnest A. Martinez