PROSPER, Texas - Up until just a few months ago, a group of middle schoolers from Prosper had never picked up a bow. But that didn't stop the team of young archers from defying the odds.
Last fall, a couple parents held a meeting for anyone interested in putting together an archery team. They expected 10 families, but more than 200 showed up. They put together a team of 30 and became a true Cinderella story.
"We wanted to have fun,” said Coach Becky Hedges. “We wanted to learn something new, and we wanted to create some comradery for the students."
It wasn't easy. Only two of the kids on the makeshift team had ever picked up a bow.
"All the arrows came out on the floor in a perfect square so it wasn't that good,” said team member Emmy Lynch.
Team Member Lola Combs says the scariest part was trying not to shoot somebody.
Being new to the sport, never in a million years did any of them think that they would be able to compete. But in March during a State competition, they stunned everyone.
"We had no idea we would make it to state this year,” Hedges said. “We are currently ranked fifth in the state of Texas."
Then, the team of young archers did one better — they made it to nationals. And as if that wasn't cool enough, they did so well there that they qualified for the World Archery Tournament in Orlando in two weekends.
"And it's still almost like kind of surreal that this all happening for these kids,” said Booster Club President Lacey Combs. “But it's exciting, too."
"At the first month, I started to see a rapid improvement,” said team member Andrew Day. “Because you got to see how you got to physically improve as you shot over and over."
“So I shot 30 arrows, and I got 233 points,” Lola boasted.
The key to hitting the bullseye? The more these kids learn about archery, poise, control and teamwork, the more they learn about life.
"These kids have really embraced the things that they need to do to be effective adults,” Hedges said. “Part of that comes from the training that they have in archery. And so based on what they've learned and embraced, it just makes me feel like I've accomplished something."
In terms of safety, the coach says it's the second safest sport right behind table tennis.