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Young archer places second in world competition

posted Jun 19, 2018, 6:58 AM by Cheryl Shuffler

Photo: Natalie B., middle, scored a 285 and came in second in the female elementary division of the  2018 National Archery in Schools Program World Tournament in Louisville, Kentucky on June 8 and 9. 


Ten-year-old Natalie B. has taken the archery world by storm. The rising Ray Childers Elementary School fifth grader placed second in a world archery tournament on June 9. Natalie competed in the 2018 National Archery in Schools Program World Tournament in Louisville, Kentucky, and with a score of 285, she came in second in the female elementary division. While she was second out of 616 elementary girls, she was first out of 262 fourth-grade girls and 88th overall out of 2,362 elementary, middle and high school girls. Heading into the world tournament, Natalie was ranked No. 1 in the nation in her bracket for scoring 293 out of 300 points at the national championships in May.


Natalie is the daughter of Clint and Allison B. Clint is a game warden and Allison is the Burke County Program Coordinator for Health-e-Schools, a program of the Center for Rural Health Innovation. Clint is a bow hunter and knew about the school archery program through work. He had gotten Natalie a kid’s bow and arrow set when she was younger, but she didn’t get serious about the sport until her PE teacher, Mike Steele, introduced her and fellow students to archery in PE class. The young archer surprised everyone with her archery skills, including Steele, and she made the Ray Childers archery team as a third grader. 


Natalie said of archery, “It is a lot of fun. I like the spirit of competition. Mr. Steele is a great coach and is good at motivating us and encouraging us.”


To keep her skills sharp, Natalie said she practices five times a week for about 30 minutes each time. Allison said her daughter seems to shoot better in competition.

She said, “She was shooting really well at nationals and shot her personal best. She did fantastic. When we came home and she would practice, she was not shooting as high as she shot for nationals. She works better under pressure.”


Natalie agrees. She said, “I do better when I’m challenged.” Going into the fifth grade, Natalie said she is open to helping out new archery teammates next year. Her advice to them is to stay focused and try hard.

Clint said the sport has been good for the Bell family and his daughter. He said, “Archery is a really good program. It’s been good for our family watching Natalie compete. To see her dedication and hard work as a 10-year-old and to see her practice and keep up with homework, she’s dedicated.”


Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said, “Congratulations to Natalie. We are proud of her and honored that she has represented Burke County Public Schools well on both the national and international level. The archery program has been a fantastic addition to our elementary schools, and I continue to give Mike Steele credit for bringing it to Burke County Public Schools. It teaches not only the skill of shooting a bow and arrow, but also, like other sports, sportsmanship, teamwork, respect, self-discipline and goal setting. Students also get a little bit of geometry in there, too. I am pleased we are able to offer a variety of programs in our schools. Our students, like Natalie, have undiscovered talents that may not surface until they are exposed to something new.”