The Busbee Creative Arts Academy archery team participated in the NASP (National Archery in Schools) State Archery Tournament sponsored by SCDNR at the Sumter Civic Center on Thursday, March 31. The team was invited to participate in the bullseye event and the IBO/3-D event (animal targets).
One must earn an invitation to the event and this was the first time the school’s team had earned a team invitation. This invitation was earned by the team’s score at a regional competition on March 12. All year long the team has steadily increased its team score and personal best scores despite having to work through COVID protocols and the omicron issues in January where only five or six members were able to participate due to illnesses or quarantine.
Although Busbee came in 12th out of 15 teams in bullseye, the team’s score was 77 points away from the cut score for an U.S. Eastern Nationals Tournament invitation. However, Zeke Baddourah’s score of 278 out of 300 ranked him in the top ten of all middle school boys at the state level event. This top ten placement earned him an invitation to the U.S. Eastern Nationals Tournament in Louisville, Kentucky in May.
What is very exciting is that last year Busbee was not not able to field a team and participated in virtual events as individuals with just six archers. This year Busbee fielded a team of 16 archers with one returner and seven that have no archer experience whatsoever, The rest had either recreational experience or participated at the feeder school’s archery program (Saluda River Academy for the Arts).
Baddourah falls into the recreational experience.
“I am amazed at his natural ability to focus and grow in the sport since his initial training in October,” head coach Robin Gerzema said.
He previously placed fifth overall among middle school boys in the Panda Challenge earlier in the season. Baddourah is an Academic Archer, meaning he has maintained the grades and character to be designated as a leader in the field. Busbee has nine of our 16 archers with this designation.
Going forward, the team is competing in the NASP Bownanza (March Madness Brackets) against schools around the nation. Busbee is the only South Carolina middle school competing in this event. Busbee has made it to the second round and will find out if it makes it to the third round soon. The team is also looking at participating in the Open/ Championship in June. Coach Gerzema is assisted by Coach Dru Pittman. Busbee has had archery since 2016.