Jake Cauthen, an 8th grader at Cameron, won the 3D Archery World Championship this Saturday at the NASP World Open and Championship in Louisville, Kentucky. Jake, along with teammates Leighton Dyer, Hayle Parker, and Jordyn Rivera, travelled to Louisville last week and competed in both bullseye and 3D competition. Cauthen finished 1st among 241 middle school (grades 6-8) boys.
“It came down to the wire,” said Cameron’s archery coach Hank Austin. “Jake shot on Thursday and held first place over three days of competition. It was nerve racking because most of the top shooters compete in the last flight (round) on Saturday. A young man from Missouri tied Jake’s score on Saturday but fell short by two tens (two arrows) on the tiebreaker. It was close and proves that every shot counts. Most of Jake’s competitors shoot 3D at the local and state level all season, but we don’t compete in 3D in Oklahoma, which makes his win even more special,” Austin said. “Several NASP coaches in Oklahoma are hoping to come up with a way to add 3D to our local and state tournaments over the next few years.”
“Jake has a 3D and bullseye range setup at home. The kid eats, sleeps, and breathes archery. He never misses a practice or tournament,” Austin said. “Jake is a leader in our program and he’s always willing to help peer coach and encourage his teammates. This is an amazing individual accomplishment for him, but he wants his team to succeed too. He wants those team awards. That’s the kind of attitude any coach would want and be proud of.”
Coach Austin said, “Our young ladies that competed last week represented our team very well also.” This is Leighton’s Dyer’s first season and she qualified for the world championship. She entered the bullseye competition ranked 45th and left ranked 25th. It was only the second time for her to shoot 3D and she finished 37th out of 233 middle school girls. The world stage is nothing new for Parker and Rivera. Both travelled to Myrtle Beach for the world open and championship last year with Coach Austin and the Shady Point archery team. “These girls worked hard, and it paid off,” Austin said. “I’m fortunate to be able to work with a great group of students and parents.”
(l-r) Parker, Rivera, Cauthen, Dyer, Austin
Jake also came from Shady Point where his passion for the sport began as a 5th grader, the second year of the program’s existence under Austin. In his first year to ever compete he earned an invitation to the world championship in Nashville, TN after competing well in bullseye at nationals. He also competed in the 3D world open while there and he won it becoming the male open champion in the elementary division that year. “When I moved to Cameron School this year Jake came to our summer archery camp and made the decision shortly after to become a Yellowjacket too. We’re glad he and others made the decision to come over,” Austin said.
Jake’s parents are Dale and Jenni Cauthen. “We are so proud of Jake’s accomplishments in archery. He takes it seriously and his hard work has paid off,” they said. “We told him to take a break because the season is so long, but he refused. There is an amazing amount of talent out there, and after watching the best of the best, it just makes him want to work harder,” they said.
“I couldn’t believe I won it with that score. I kept waiting for someone to beat it on Saturday. I was just happy to be able to compete and talk with some of the best archers in the world,” Jake said.
Cameron Superintendent John Long said, “Archery was something I wanted to start when I came to Cameron four years ago. Through dedication and hard work from the students and Coach Austin we have far exceeded the expectations that I thought we would get at this stage in the juncture. We are so proud of Jake but also, we had three young ladies, Jordyn, Leighton, and Hayle that competed last week and represented Cameron very well. We’re proud of all these kids.”
Coach Austin said, “Our kids work hard, but we want to thank all the parents, school staff, administration, board, and everyone who has donated time and resources to our program this year. It takes a lot of people and effort to support a program like this and everyone has bought in to what we we’re doing. It’s a great time to be a Yellowjacket.”
The archery program at Cameron will have a new practice facility opening in the fall, along with the school’s new high school and sports arena.