Skipcha Archer Third in State

By: Todd Martin
One of the best elementary archers in the state doesn’t even own a bow.

Humble over his success, Skipcha Elementary School fifth-grader Zach Alpin had no trouble accepting an impressive trophy Tuesday for an impressive display of accuracy at the state archery in schools tournament.

He finished third in the state among elementary boys.

Texas Parks and Wildlife archery coordinator Burnie Kessner made the trophy presentation in the Skipcha gym, where Alpin and his teammates practiced the past three years.

Skipcha Elementary School finished in 17th place at the Texas State National Archery in Schools Program Tournament March 23-24 at the Bell County Expo Center.

According to his coaches and parents Andrew and Liz Alpin, Zach needed little encouragement – or a bow of his own – to build strength in the sport.

Soft-spoken and dedicated, the students’ parents said their son has a history of competing well even in the face of obstacle or injury.

This past year he spent a lot of time helping teammates improve their technique.

“I was really excited,” he said Tuesday of his performance in March. “I was telling my dad my scores and he was keeping track on his phone.”

Alpin finished in fourth place last year among fourth-grade boys and improved 20 points to score 270, good for third place in the state among all elementary age boys.

“I was excited,” he said. “I was wondering if I was going to win anything.”

He said the key to doing well in archery is practice. The sport’s demand for precision and focus seems to match the young man’s personality. He said he also likes baseball.

Elizabeth Hampton, one of the fifth-grade teachers who helped coach the team, along with school counselor Patricia Journey, said it was Alpin’s skill that carried him through. She praised the team’s hard work.

Four Killeen ISD schools qualified teams for the state tournament. Nolanville Elementary School finished in seventh place. Reeces Creek Elementary School finished in 18th place. Ellison High School finished 34th.

This year’s state event at the Bell County Expo Center attracted 92 schools and 2,177 archers from across the state.