North Carroll Community School archers to compete at nationals

In the six years Leah Mays has been a member of the North Carroll Community School archery team, she has seen the sport's popularity grow as kids get interested in shooting with the skill of the "Hunger Games" heroine Katniss Everdeen.

"It's a great sport," said Mays, a home-schooled 11th-grader from Reisterstown.


She is part of a diverse 42-student team composed of North Carroll Community School students as well as children who are home-schooled. Mays and 13 other students recently finished in the top 10 in their age groups at the National Archery in Schools Program's state competition in Hagerstown. They will represent their team at the NASP national competition in Louisville, Ky., this week.

"I think this year will be exciting because I get to see my teammates [shoot]," said Mays, who competes in the girls high school division and attended the event last year. "Every state has a huge group of people; it will be cool to see a small group of Marylanders there."

Lou Compton, NASP's Maryland state coordinator, said the national competition will likely set a record as the largest archery contest in the world. More than 12,000 shooters from 48 states are expected to compete. Each participant shoots 30 arrows — 15 at a distance of 10 meters and 15 at 15 meters.

"It's exciting to see a whole bunch of kids enjoying archery and excelling at what they do," Compton said.

The North Carroll Community team is coached by Tina Shupp, who is also the program coordinator for Carroll County Recreation and Parks. Shupp has dyed her hair like a bull's-eye to motivate the team during the national tournament.

"She's very enthusiastic," Compton said. "She really knows how to motivate the kids."

Shea Cencula, a home-schooled fifth-grader from Mount Airy, has been shooting with the team for two years.

"I placed fourth in the state competition, so I decided to go to nationals," Shea said. "I'm looking forward to seeing how I do and spending time with my family after I shoot."

Shea's mother, Hope Cencula, is excited to attend the event.

"It's great exposure for Shea," Cencula said. "We'll get to see how other people do with their archery."

Noah DeZwart, a home-schooled 10th-grader from Littlestown, Pa., who will be competing the boys high school division, said he can't wait to go.

"The opportunity to be one of 12,000 is just enough in itself," DeZwart said.



More information

Aspiring archers may contact Shupp at 410-386-2103 for more information about the Recreation and Parks archery program.