his was supposed to be the week the J.Z. George High School archery team was to compete in state championships in Jackson.
However, COVID-19 spoiled those plans for the first-year team.
"It's been tough. I've stayed in contact with several on the team, as well as my students at the school. The kids on the team were upset the season had to end, but I think they now understand the severity of what's going on," said Jeff Fulgham, one of three coaches for the archery squad.
He's joined by Scott McCrory and Joe Nokes as coaches.
The Jaguars were able to compete in three shoots during the month of February. Each time out, Fulgham said he noticed improvements from several of his young shooters.
"They were showing improvement, and several of them were getting better each time out. I feel like we could have finished in the middle of the pack, which isn't bad for a first-year team," Fulgham said. "The kids were learning, as well as us coaches. The three coaches got certified so we could serve in these positions.
"We are already planning on fielding a team next year. We need to raise some funds to purchase more bows so each kid can have one for practice and during shoots. We didn't have enough for each kid this season, but we made do, and the other teams we competed against actually loaned us bows during competitions."
J.Z. George's first competition was Feb. 11 at Grenada High School. The Jaguars finished with a team score of 2,688 points as Wil'Tavious Williams and Billy Woods led the way with scores of 257 and 256, respectively. Mariah Burns and Makayla Miller were the top two females with a 214 apiece.
On Feb. 13, J.Z. George went to Winona High School and shot a team score of 2,614. Williams was the top male with 264 points, and Jacob Johnson shot a 259. Miller led the J.Z. George girls with a 219 total, and Hailey Perry was next with a 191.
They returned to Grenada on Feb. 18 and shot a team total of 2,678 points. Williams led all boys for the Jaguars with a 274 total. Johnson was next with a 254.
For the girls, Miller led the way with a 226 total, and Laney Clunan was next with a 217.
J.Z. George is part of the Archery in Mississippi Schools (AIMS), which is sponsored by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.