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DeLanie Ryan: The Little Girl Behind the Impressive Numbers By: Cheryl Hughes

DeLanie Ryan (Lanie to her family) is just eleven years old, but she has the nerves and focus of someone much older.  She is part of the Morgantown Elementary School Archery Team.  The ‘23/’24 season was just her second full season.  She came home with ten medals in her first season (4th grade), then racked up 17 medals and 3 trophies during the ‘23/’24 season, as a 5th grader, scoring 4 perfect bullseyes during competition.


What’s up?  Does DeLanie come from a long line of archers?  Are Robin Hood and William Tell in her family tree?  The answer is simply that her mother picked up a form at school.  Amber Ryan, an employee at MES, thought her daughter might be interested in this particular team sport, because it doesn’t involve running.  

“Mama knows me,” DeLanie laughs.  “I’m not a fan of running.”

The MES team, coached by Catron and Matthew Burdette and assistant coach Nathan Johnson, placed 34th out of 199 elementary bullseye teams this season. Amber Ryan says that the archery team has become a second family for her and husband Mikey Ryan.  Both parents are consistently involved with the team, attending practices and traveling to tournaments.  

“The Burdettes root for Lanie as much as we do,” Amber says.

DeLanie has a lot of natural talent, no doubt, but that doesn’t mean she can skip practice.  The MES team holds practices after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  She is always there, often with her parents.  Her dad, Mikey, says that his daughter, Lanie, has an eye for barely noticeable things that make a big difference in how an archer hits the target.  “She can easily spot small things and mistakes that keep other archers from shooting as good as they could,” he says.

When asked how she deals with nerves at a tournament, DeLanie replies simply, “I don’t get nervous.  I know I can do it.”  That much is pretty obvious.  During the National Archery Tournament, held in Louisville, Kentucky on May 11th of this year, DeLanie shot a 280 (out of a possible 300), giving her a 9th place standing out of 1,789 female elementary school shooters.  She currently holds the number 1 spot in the state of Kentucky for elementary school girl’s archery.

Even though the sport involves a lot of practice and intense focus, DeLanie is quick to point out that she’s not missing out on the fun factor.  “I get to shoot with my friends,” she says, “and I’ve made friends with kids I wouldn’t otherwise have been friends with.”

From June 5th through June 9th, this summer, the World Archery Tournament will take place in Daytona Beach, Florida.  It’s no surprise to anyone that DeLanie Ryan will be there to compete.  Her parents will be right there cheering her on.  

“We are super proud of our entire team this year, and of course, especially DeLanie,” says her coach, Matthew Burdette.  “She certainly deserves the attention.  She has been a pleasure to coach and to know.  She will definitely be missed next year at MES, but I know the middle school is excited to have her.”

(If you are interested in information on the archery teams in Butler County, in-school participation information will begin toward the end of September.  There will be a two-week archery camp at the 4H Extension office in Morgantown, beginning the week after fall break.  Practices will continue after that in the respective school gyms.  Contact your school for the practice days and times.) 


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