Adaptive PE students compete in archery tournament


Seth Lane made such an impression in the inaugural adaptive physical education archery tournament that he joined the Seymour High School archery team.

Last year as a sophomore, he scored 132 out of 150 and won the boys title.

Going into the second tournament Thursday in the high school auxiliary gymnasium, the pressure was on Lane to defend his title.

Scoring 49 out of 50 in each of the first two rounds of five shots and finishing with 145 out of 150, he easily did so. None of the other 14 competitors shot higher than 96.

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"It was no problem because I practiced this morning," said Lane, now a junior. "The practice gave me a little bit of an advantage this morning."

In the first two rounds, Lane said he did good on his anchor and drawback.

He said being a part of the high school archery team helped, too. The Owls had two teams, and he made it onto the second one. The first one qualified for the state tournament.

"It had been a rough start at the beginning, but I got better over time," he said of the archery season. "I got better with being around other people."

On Thursday, he had a good time competing with his classmates.

"I enjoyed being with other people and watching them shoot," he said. "I know people try to do what I do. I try to teach them how to drawback and anchor."

High school archery coach Jill Purkhiser said she is impressed with Lane’s showing on the archery team and in the adaptive PE class.

"He didn’t make our state team, but he hadn’t been shooting like that, either. He came today with a mission," she said. "It gave me chills to see him. I tell you what, it scared the living daylights out of the archery Owls because they were like, ‘What team is he on?’"

On Thursday, Purkhiser said she saw Lane’s anxiety subside.

"He knew that he could show up. He was in his class," she said. "That young man, he showed me something today. He really did. We had practice this morning, and I knew he was shooting well in practice, but I had no idea he was going to do this today, so that was a very huge, cool factor."

To help the students prepare for the tournament, they spent four days in adaptive PE classes working with Purkhiser. The 60-plus students in each of the regular PE classes also learned about archery the past two weeks.

"It has been pretty busy," Purkhiser said. "When we first start out with each individual archer, we do not let them touch a bow until we have literally hands-on gone over everything with them."

The ones who understand the safety rules and follow directions are allowed to participate.

"There is absolutely no horseplay. This is the most disciplined two weeks of PE," Purkhiser said, noting PE teachers Dave Boggs and Jason Longmeier like that aspect.

"They love it because everybody is in here together," she said. "A lot of times, the girls go one way, the boys go the other, so you don’t have competition between them or anything like that. This sport, everybody is together, everybody is competing on the same level at the same time."

Most of the kids had never touched a bow before, she said.

"Some of them, they might not be able to speak, but I’ll say, ‘Show me three fingers,’ ‘Yep, that’s right. Those are the three fingers that you need,’" she said of working with the adaptive PE students.

In Thursday’s tournament, the students shot from 10 meters, which is the official line for the target. Last year, they shot from 8 meters.

"Part of it, I didn’t want to mess Seth up by letting him shoot closer. Let’s move it back to 10 and let him do it," Purkhiser said. "The kids have excelled. The kids have just done well."

All along, she had to take the students’ abilities into consideration.

"Some of these kids, they can’t hold a bow by themselves," she said. "You saw the ones that were wheelchair-bound, they put their hand on my arm, and that was their way of pulling the bow back."

One girl expressed her excitement as she got out of her wheelchair to compete.

"She was laughing so hard, she was nearly falling over because she was just giggling the whole time, and (her teachers) said she doesn’t react to things like that, so she literally loved what she was doing," Purkhiser said. "It was just great."

One day in class, a girl was so excited to do archery, she grabbed Purkhiser’s arm and left a mark.

"This is looking a lot better than what it did," Purkhiser said while showing her arm and smiling. "She was really loving what was going on, and she just got her hands in my arm."

Knowing archery brings that excitement out in students is great to see, Purkhiser said.

"These kids are just special," she said. "I have a love for them."

Besides Lane, Purkhiser discovered another adaptive PE student who could compete on the high school archery team.

For Lane, he’s already thinking about next year’s adaptive PE archery tournament. So will he go for a three-peat?

"Probably," he said, smiling.

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Seymour High School adaptive physical education archery tournament


First place: Seth Lane, 145 points

Second place: Vincent Hurtado Reyes, 96 points

Third place: Parker Windley, 78 points


First place: Jessica Bartolome, 71 points

Second place: Bekah Jones, 58 points

Third place: Anne Lenart, 48 points


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