The J.Z. George High School athletic program is expanding its participation in the number of sports it has at the school as the first-ever archery team will make its debut Feb. 11.
J.Z. George athletic director Nathan Moncrief found three men who serve on staff at the school and got approval from school officials to run with the idea.
"The idea was brought up last year while Billy Joe Ferguson was still superintendent. He liked the idea and saw it as way to get more kids involved in sports," said Moncrief.
Coaching the team are Jeff Fulgham, Joe Nokes and Scott McCrory. All three are teachers at the school. Fulgham has the title of head coach, or in this case, spokesman for the newly-formed team.
"This was something that we started thinking about a couple of years ago. The administration got on board with the idea, and all three of us coaches went and got certified to be instructors for the team," said Fulgham, who said the team practices in his shop at the school. "It's a great sport for kids who may not play other sports. We have a mixture of girls and boys on the team.
"We only have high school kids on this team, but we can go down to seventh graders and they can be a part of the varsity team. Next year, we want to expand and have a team for fourth through sixth graders at the elementary school."
J.Z. George is scheduled to compete in its first shoot of the season next Tuesday at Grenada High school. They will also be at Winona High School on Feb. 13 and return to Grenada on Feb. 18. The North half tournament is slated for March 24-26, and the state archery meet is April 7-10 at the Kirk Fordice Equestrian Center in Jackson.
"This is not like bow hunting. It's strictly bows and arrows. You don't use sights. All shoots are held inside of gyms or centers," said Fulgham.
Competitors shoot three times each from 10 and 15 meters using five arrows each time. So that's a total of 15 shots from both distances. Scoring depends on what target shooters hit.
"One thing I've found out about archery tournaments is that you will have a big crowd show up. We will not host a shoot this year, but we are hoping to get set up to host a meet next year," Fulgham said. "The kids are excited about this season, and we so appreciate having the support from our administration and staff at the school."