Photo provided Wheeling Central archer Shannon Looney has earned a berth in the State High School Archery Championships where he will compete Saturday in Charleston. Looney shot a score of 280 to qualify for the event and he became the first Wheeling Central archer to qualify for state in school history.

WHEELING — When Wheeling Central senior Shannon Looney discovered the school’s wrestling program was being phased out two years ago, he began looking for another winter sport to occupy his time.

Little did he know he was about to discover a hidden skill in the form of archery.

Now, two years later, Looney has become the first Wheeling Central archer in school history to reach the State High School Archery Championships, where he will compete inside the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center Saturday at 10 a.m.

“This is only my second year of archery,” Looney said. “Coach (Ed Crockard) asked me if I was interested and I said, ‘Sure, I’ll give it a try. Our wrestling program at Central is gone so I wanted to find something else during the winter. So, I picked it up and found a talent I didn’t know I had.

Looney shot 280 with 13 bullseyes at Cameron to qualify for the state championships.

“It was the highest score I’ve shot,” Looney said of the 280. “It was one of my goals, so it was an overwhelming feeling of happiness.”

Success didn’t come overnight for Looney, however. The eldest has worked tirelessly to hone his skills, which makes this season even more enjoyable for him.

“I made it my goal and worked on it all season,” Looney said. “It can be a bit difficult sometimes.

“I do better some days and sometimes I shoot less well. You have to learn not to let yourself down when you shoot less well.

“You have to keep pushing and know you’ll do better.”

Looney is also very proud of the fact that he is the first archer in Wheeling Central school history to win a trip to Charleston.

“It’s a great feeling,” Looney said. “I worked for it and to be the first in Central to qualify is really cool. No one has ever gone archery here but the program is only 4 years old I think. C is just such a good feeling.

Today’s breaking news and more to your inbox