PITTSBURG — After settling second place in state the past two seasons, the Pittsburg High School archery team aims to hit the mark this year by winning it all.

With several archers returning for another run at the state title and newcomers ready to prove themselves, the Purple Dragons could be primed to get over the hump in the upcoming campaign.

“We had several veteran archers who graduated, but several young ones have certainly made strides in raising scores,” PHS head coach Mary Packard said. “We finished second in the state and had several kids finish among the top ten in the state, but I feel like we could have placed a bit higher — both as a team and as individuals.The course is always the same distance, so we will be trying a few different things with practice this season which will hopefully help with the final outcome.”

Leading the many newcomers to the team will be the upperclassmen, who will be the ones setting the standard.

“We really like our veteran archers,” Packard said. “They are great examples at practice and are always willing to help the novice archers. That experience is so helpful when it comes to shot set up, bow maintenance and competition. Currently, with our 60 students in the program who have been trained for our team, the experienced archers are invaluable.”

Like any other sport, dedication to being the best is essential in archery.

“We have quite a few veterans returning, which is helpful,” Packard said. “It takes a full season to really become proficient at the bow. We also have approximately 30 new archers, and I’m looking for a few to break out into the top competitors.”

To allow for more training, Packard has made some adjustments to the practice times.

“We have some experienced archers that are on the brink of really shooting consistently,” Packard said. “We have also changed some practice times to allow for multi-sport athletes to have time to get on the range.”

Although the Purple Dragons were happy to celebrate the accomplishment of placing second in the state tournament, they won’t be satisfied with anything other than first and are willing to do whatever it takes to get there.

“Our team needs to place first in the state,” Packard said. “We have placed second the past two seasons, so we need to improve our team score by improving our individual scores.”

 — Jordan Buckamneer is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at jbuckamneer@morningsun.net and follow him on Twitter @jbuckamneer.