Archery In Mississippi Schools has almost 80,000 participants and some feel it may exceed participation in football, baseball and basketball in coming years.
Brian Broom/The Clarion-Ledger

Female archer scores 298 out of possible 300

A Lawrence County High School student recently did what no other female archer has done before. Bailey White, 17, of Monticello scored 298 points out of a possible 300 in the National Archery in Schools Program National Championship.

“I cried,” said White. “I couldn’t believe it.

“I had to look twice. If you had asked me a year ago if I could do that I would have said no. I never thought I would do this good.”

Although elated, her coach David Barber said the score wasn’t totally unexpected.

“The funny thing about Bailey White is she will tell you she’s going to do something and then do it,” Barber said. “She told me she was going to shoot a 296 at an all-star tournament.

“I just kind of shrugged it off. She went out and did it. Then on the way to Kentucky I asked her if she was going to shoot a 296 and she said no, she was going to do better. I asked her how she was going to do that and she said by shooting a 298.”

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And Barber said her success doesn’t happen by pulling numbers out of thin air.

“She’s got passion,” Barber said. “A lot of kids wake up and think about what they’re going to do this weekend.

“Bailey wakes up and thinks about how to get better. She’s not just in there slinging arrows down range. She thinks about the minor details. She focuses on finger pressure. She thinks about the velocity of her release. She thinks about her follow-through. She even thinks about her breathing.”

Barber said she also has a strong knowledge of how all these details affect arrow flight.

“She can tell you an arrow went wide-left or wide-right and tell you why,” Barber said. “There are not that many kids that can tell you why.”

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Skill is a cornerstone of success in almost any arena, but Barber said archer’s nerves can come unraveled with the pressure of the national championship in Louisville, Kentucky where almost 15,000 students competed this year. White seems almost immune to it.

“She’s just got skill and focus that is unparalleled right now,” Barber said. “She’s got self-discipline.”

White said it’s a matter of concentration.

“I was pretty focused,” White said. “I just kept adding my scores up and took deep breaths.”

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Among White’s winnings was $10,000 for higher education and her talent will likely lead to more financial assistance for college.

“She’s had about five scholarship offers in the last 48 hours,” Barber said.

White’s is just one of…