Fifth state title in row for Big Reds’ archery

Can you imagine finishing your high school athletic career by:

* Participating on the state championship team for the fourth straight year.

* Claiming your second consecutive individual title.

* Setting the all-time record for individual top score.

* Earning all-state honors all four years.

That’s exactly what Parkersburg High School senior Jeremiah Parsons recently accomplished.

Yet, many Big Red sports fans may not be aware of Parsons or even the sport in which he participates.

Parsons is a member of the Parkersburg High School archery program, a sport that while recognized by the school is not an officially sanctioned high school sport by the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission.

But that hasn’t kept prep archers from around the Mountain State from competing against each other and crowning a state champion.

For each of that last five seasons, that state champion has been Parkersburg High School. The Big Reds won consecutive title No. 5 last month at the Huntington Archery Club.

The Big Reds set a state record as its top five performers accounted for a score of 1,531 points. PHS needed nearly every one of them to beat back a serious challenge from runnerup Wyoming East, which finished with 1,528. Shady Spring was third with 1,440.

Leading the way for the Big Reds was Parsons, who closed out his stellar career with his second straight individual state title, compiling a score of 322. Others whose scores counted towards the team total were sophomore Luke Ballengee (312), senior Logan Raines (301), freshman Nathaniel Parsons (300) and junior Thomas Martin (297). Ballengee’s score also earned him all-state honors. the second straight year he has achieved that status.

In the high school girls division, freshman Jill Ballengee won the individual state title with a score of 276. Another PHS performer, sophomore Shealyn Delancey, was third with 227.

Capturing the middle school championship was Parkersburg eight grader Ashley Chittum with a score of 223.

The Big Reds are coached by Jim Parsons, who oversees practice sessions at the Mountain State Sportsmen Association each Wednesday and Friday from October through August.

Although the West Virginia high school season has concluded, PHS will travel to Seven Springs, Pa. in August to compete in the International Bowhunters Organization world championship.