Adaptive PE students compete in archery tournament

Silence fell upon the Seymour High School auxiliary gymnasium Friday morning.

The fourth annual adaptive physical education archery tournament ended with two boys — fifth-year senior Seth Lane and freshman Gideon Wells — tied at 135 out of 150.

A shootoff of five more shots determined the winner, and Lane ended up winning 183-178, claiming the boys title for the fourth year in a row.

Afterwards, he had the same reaction as the previous year.

“I wanted someone to at least beat me,” he said.

This year, though, Lane said it was good to have the competition.

“I was kind of struggling that second round, but then I got back into it a little bit,” he said. “I’m happy to have won.”

Being new to archery, Wells said he was surprised to be in a shootoff with someone of Lane’s caliber. The two are friends and teammates on the SHS archery team.

“When I first saw him shoot, I was like, ‘Now that’s an archer,’” Wells said. “Ever since, I tried to get as good, if not better, and to be tied with him for the literal first time in a super competition, that is amazing. I did not expect a shootout one bit. I did not see that coming.”

Wells said he had always wanted to do archery, and he’s glad he took the chance and made the SHS team as a freshman. That team, however, had not been able to compete in a tournament this school year, so Friday’s adaptive PE competition was his first one.

“I was absolutely terrified,” Wells said, smiling. “The first three (rounds), we got the exact same arrows. I felt like I might have won if I hadn’t started shaking. I think that’s what messed up my shot. I just need to get my arm stronger.”

In the end, Lane had another first-place medal to add to his collection at home, and Wells earned an award for the first time in a long time.

“I’m probably going to wear this for the rest of the day,” Wells said, smiling. “Then I’m going to have to talk to Mom and Dad about a trophy case.”

Lane shot 132 in the first year of the tournament, followed by 145 and 139. This is his third year on the SHS archery team, and on March 12, he will make the trip to the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis for the second year in a row to compete in the National Archery in the Schools Program Indiana State Tournament.

Wells and the girls winner of the adaptive PE archery tournament, Keara Riley, also are members of the SHS team, but they aren’t on the state team.

This is the seventh school year for archery at SHS, and once that got established, head coach Jill Purkhiser was asked by PE teacher Dave Boggs to offer an archery unit in his regular and adaptive PE classes.

Since it started four years ago, Purkhiser has ensured the unit and the tournament were offered.

This year, 30 SHS special education students spent time in adaptive PE class learning about archery, and most of them were able to compete in Friday’s tournament.

A member of the varsity archery team was paired with each competitor to help track their score. When the students went up to shoot, they were paired with Purkhiser or one of her assistant coaches, Drew Purkhiser, Cassie Barrett or Justin Ackeret.

Each student had three rounds of five shots. In the end, medals were given to the top five boys and top five girls.

Purkhiser said it was great to see a shootoff.

“(Lane) had to step up and beat Gideon, and that was great for both of them, just the positive reinforcement that this is Seth’s last year, he’s a fifth-year senior, he’s done and Gideon is a freshman,” she said.

On the girls’ side, Riley was the only one to top 100, as her winning score was 124. She also is a fifth-year senior, so this was her last adaptive PE tournament. Last year, she placed second with 81 points.

Purkhiser not only looks forward to the tournament every year to see the abilities of the archers, but the students are excited about it, too.

“They so enjoy it. Every year, they look forward to it,” she said. “They’ve been asking me about ‘When are we going to shoot archery?’ ever since the very first day of school. It’s like, ‘It’s coming up. It will be after Christmas’ is what I have to keep telling them.”

Some are able to shoot without much assistance, while others need a helping hand.

“Some of them, all they can do is lay their hand on my elbow and help me pull back,” Purkhiser said. “They surprise themselves, and it’s just fun. They encourage each other. They cheer on each other. It’s a positive thing all the way around.”

After the tournament, Wells said he’s already ready for next year.

“I’m hoping to be here next year. Maybe next year, I’ll have one of those,” he said, pointing to Lane’s first-place medal.

At a glance 

Fourth annual Seymour High School adaptive physical education archery tournament 


First place: Seth Lane, 135 points (score was 183 after shootoff)

Second place: Gideon Wells, 135 points (score was 178 after shootoff)

Third place: Nicholai Schrader, 112 points

Fourth place: Allen Olmos, 98 points

Fifth place: Jerson Pacheco, 83 points


First place: Keara Riley, 124 points

Second place: Anne Lenart, 83 points

Third place: Candace Taylor, 54 points

Fourth place: Shannon McDole, 49 points

Fifth place: Jorja O’Neal, 43 points