The Toast of Nevada: 6 titles in 9 years | NevadaAppeal.com

The Toast of Nevada: 6 titles in 9 years

Steve Ranson
Nevada News Group
The Fallon City Council recognized the state championship archery team. From left are Councilwoman Karla Kent, Tanner Huckaby (268 points, state), Faith Gentry-Steep (272), Isaac Nestlerode (262), Averie Wood, Natasha Emke (270), Cassidy Campbell (271), Mayor Ken Tedford, Brianna Wagner (274), Cameron Christy (257), David Price (261), Thomas Openshaw (282), Martin Towne (262) Sean Moore (258), coach Dean Schultz and Councilwoman Kelly Frost. Not photographed are April Lee (238), Autumn Lee (266), Lily Sandefer (257) and Tiffany Van Winkle (231).
Steve Ranson / LVN

Churchill County High School’s archery team continues to be the toast of Nevada after capturing its sixth state title in nine years.

Fallon shot a combined 3,203 points, more than 80 points better than the second-place team. CCHS competed against 13 other high schools.

“Our kids this year knocked it out of the park,” said coach Dean Schultz, a physical education teacher at CCHS who has been involved with archery for more than 40 years.

“This is my passion,” he said. “I get to do this in the school. I have the best job in the world.”

The team placed second in 2019, but this year Schultz said the archers improved during the season. When the archers first attended practice in the fall, Shultz said he had a very green team. By the time of the state tournament, he said the archers were consistent and competed as a team.

“The kids got better and better over the year,” Shultz said after the Fallon City Council recognized his team with plaques and cake.

Every season tends to be a rebuilding year, and when the students showed up, Schultz didn’t know what to expect. Yet, as the year progressed, he knew he had something special.

“Holy Mackerel … it’s like a new group of kids,” he grinned. “But they’re a great group of kids.”

Although CCHS didn’t have a first-place archer, Thomas Openshaw placed second out of an overall ranking with 330 other male archers. He finished with 282 points out of 300. Brianna Wagner placed fifth for the highest-ranking girl with 274 points. Schutz said Openshaw, who plays baseball, shot phenomenal. Of the 12 top archers, nine were freshmen and the other three were sophomores.

Fallon’s top archer last season was Shelbi Schultz with a score of 283. She missed first place by 20 points. Coach Shultz emphasized archery is a team sport because the top 12 archers must have scores to push the team to the upper tier.

“Two things could’ve happened in the tournament,” he said. “They could tank it or step up. I had kids that did more than stepping up.”

Archery is a club sport sanctioned by the National Archery in Schools program, not the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association. Archery has been in Nevada schools since 2009. This year’s national tournament is in Sandy, Utah, in late April, and Schultz said some archers want to compete at the next level.

This year’s team had 16 students, one of the smallest Schultz has coached. In previous years he has had 25 to 30 students.

This year’s team included Tanner Huckaby (268 points, state), Faith Gentry-Steep (272), Isaac Nestlerode (262), Averie Wood, Natasha Emke (270), Cassidy Campbell (271), Brianna Wagner (274), Cameron Christy (257), David Price (261), Thomas Openshaw (282), Martin Towne (262) Sean Moore (258), April Lee (238), Autumn Lee (266), Lily Sandefer (257) and Tiffany Van Winkle (231).