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This Charlotte-area archery team has never lost a state championship

Pinnacle Classical Academy archery team, The Thunderbirds, has swept three state championships. They also placed thirds at Nationals in Kentucky.

SHELBY, N.C. — The Pinnacle Classical Academy archery team, The Thunderbirds, has swept three state championships.

Pinnacle Classical Academy's archery teams competed in Scholastic 3-D Archery's (S3DA) North Carolina championship and won all three state championship titles.

Over 100 individual shooters from eight teams competed in elementary, middle school, and high school divisions at the event held recently in Casar, North Carolina. The Pinnacle Classical Academy Thunderbirds walked away with all three state championship titles as well as 14 individual podium finishes. 

The team then went on to compete in the S3DA 3-D National Championship in London, Kentucky, where they placed third overall. 

The team's coach, Todd Tongel, said his kids put in a lot of hours practicing for states and nationals. 

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"We've won every station championship since the program has started," Tongel said. 

The program, which has been running for seven years now, consists of elementary, middle and high school students. Tongel said aside from all of the trophies his team wins, he's really proud of how his team takes care of each other. 

"The older kids kind of help coach the younger kids," Tongel said. "They become friends and really family throughout the whole year of becoming a team." 

Tongel said he has four seniors going to college, all of whom will continue to shoot archery through their studies. He said he's sure they will continue to take care of each other, even while attending separate colleges. 

Pinnacle Classical Academy archery teams sweep three state championships! Pinnacle Classical Academy's archery teams...

Posted by Pinnacle Classical Academy on Thursday, June 17, 2021

"They're all within 45 minutes of each other at their different colleges," Tongel said. "So I have no doubt that they're going to continue to take care of each other throughout college even." 

One of the seniors, Landon Standish, just graduated from Pinnacle Academy this year and said this is his last summer here before he heads off to college. Standish said he'll be double majoring in business and accounting while also traveling across the country with his collegiate archery team shooting throughout the year.

"I love the sport," Standish said. "I've shot for seven years and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon." 

The former Pinnacle Academy senior said this summer was a little bitter-sweet for him because it was his last time shooting with The Thunderbirds. 

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"I enjoy every single one of these kids shooting behind me," Standish said. "I mean every practice there's always a memory you'll be able to make and always remember that make your laugh and smile."

Standish said archery is a great sport for someone to get into. He said while other sports might be more of a team activity, archery is a little more independent. 

"You can train with your team," Standish said. "But then when it's time to shoot -- when you step on the line, it's up to you." 

He also noted that the sport teaches accountability and responsibility. 

"Every time you step on the line, it's up to you and if you make a mistake you can't blame anyone but yourself," Standish said. 

Standish said he plans on watching the archery in the Tokyo Olympics.

"All of the Olympics shooters shoot the same brand of bow as me so it's gonna be really interesting watching the Olympics this year," Standish said. "Hopefully if all goes to plan, they'll end up winning."

Contact Meilin at mtompkins@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


Off the Clock with Carboni is a weekly, in-depth, inside look at Charlotte sports, including the Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Hornets, and more, hosted by WCNC Sports Director Nick Carboni.
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