Columbia Academy student wins Youth Archery Female Athlete of the Year
COLUMBIA, Miss. (WDAM) - Isabella Rowell, an 8th grader at Columbia Academy, won the title of Female Athlete of the Year for Youth Archery last month from the State Games of Mississippi.
Rowell began competing in the sport three years ago and said it’s now her favorite sport.
“I noticed a bunch of people were signing up, and I’d never picked up a bow in my life or watched archery,” she said. “I didn’t even know if I was going to like it at all.”
She said her background in ballet helped tremendously when it came to balance and patience.
Mike Barber, an archery coach at the academy, said the program has had many great students like Rowell through the years.
“We’ve been pretty blessed,” said Barber. “We’ve had a lot of great kids, a lot of great shooters.”
Barber began coaching archery eight years ago. He oversees elementary, middle and high school students and has won 18 state championships. He said he takes pride in always becoming better, year after year.
“We don’t rebuild; we reload,” said Barber. “This year, we’re loading. We’ve got a lot of young kids coming up from 6th grade and 7th grade, and they’re super talented.
“And, Bella has been incredible from day one. She’s 100% focused, and she’s all in. Every practice, she’ll work with the new shooters, the new kids.”
Barber said being focused is key and that the sport is 90% mental and 10% physical. He said every student deserves to be a part of a team.
“Archery is more of a mental sport than a physical sport,” said Rowell. “To be in archery, you have to be committed to it.”
Archery in Mississippi Schools, or ‘AIMS,’ is a program through the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, which has grown since 2005. The program is now in over 500 schools and 50 counties.
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