Comets target success in unconventional sport

Take a step into the Grand Ledge archery room.
Take a step into the Grand Ledge archery room.
Published: Apr. 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM EDT
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GRAND LEDGE, Mich. (WILX) - Spring athletic season is in full swing and while baseball and softball certainly are catching most of the eyes, other sports are going on as well. That’s true in Grand Ledge where the high school has almost always had sound football, basketball, and baseball programs. But one Comets team works out of what looks to be a classroom tucked in at the far end of a hallway.

“This used to be the auto mechanics room,” explains Leanne Demott, an assistant coach for the Grand Ledge archery team. “Since auto mechanics is not offered in high school anymore, and this room stayed empty for several years, this is what moved in.”

The Comets archery team is in the midst of its 11th year as a high school sport and involvement is sky-rocketing with up to 60 members between middle and high school.

“It’s a sport you wouldn’t think about would be fun with how big it is and it’s just cool to see how much it is,” says Lois Lockwitz, a senior archer. “It’s wild because I never thought that the sport would be going on for so long and that would be so many people interested.”

So, for those unfamiliar with the sport, what exactly makes a good archer?

“Ummmm... aiming,” says Jacob McElroy, a senior archer.

“You have to be compassionate and charismatic and it’s not much about the scores,” Lockwitz says. “It’s more about having fun.”

Demott agrees, saying it’s about how the team gets along.

“It’s not just about how well they shoot,” she says. “Do they come to practice those at least one night a week during the season? How well they’re getting along with the other kids? Do they listen to their coaches? How well do they get along with everybody - all those things matter.”

But the Comets have a lot of good shooters and over the years they’ve won - a lot.

Now they’ve reached the ultimate goal, with both the middle and high school teams representing Grand Ledge in nationals a month from now in Kentucky.

“It’s actually amazing and very satisfying,” says Demott.

“I’m so excited,” Lockwitz says. “I had fun last year doing it and I just can’t wait to beat my score from last year.”

Regardless of placement at nationals, it’s the room at the end of the hall that gives these kids an outlet, with an open invitation to anyone. It’s a place to learn a new skill, but in the process target relationships along the way.

“It’s really cool because you think of sports, and you don’t think about everyone doing it. So, a certain section or person or something, and here it’s everyone,” Lockwitz says.

“As a coach, you get a lot of kids that come in and you see them in middle school and you get to know them,” Demott says. “Then when they hit high school and they’re practicing with you and you think oh, I’m going to bow out this year, you don’t - because now these kids want you to stay till their seniors and graduate.”

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