The team also receives support from its members' parents.
"The parents are amazing. During our dual matches, they volunteer to help in every way possible. When we sent our team to the World Championships last fall, the parents raised $12,000 to finance the trip," Gump said.
The team placed fifth at the Worlds, but places far more stock in the recent fifth-place national finish because the national-championship field is much larger.
"There were more than 9,000 archers at the nationals, and almost 3,000 in the high-school division," Gump said. "Levi Staats finished ninth among the boys, Cayla Goodson finished eighth in the girls, and the team finished fifth overall."
To maintain such a high standard of performance, one might figure that Ripley's coaches hand pick the team's members from the very best shooters in the school's physical education classes.
"We don't pick and choose," Gump said. "We never 'cut' people from the team. Anyone who wants to participate can join. We started this year with 44 kids, and over the course of the year some of them slowly eliminated themselves. We ended the year with 24 on the team."
Ripley participates in the Appalachian Archery Conference, a league composed of 17 Ohio teams plus the Vikings.
"We believe it's the first Archery in the Schools conference ever, and it contains some of the very best teams in the country," Kruk said. "We finished third in the conference this year and felt pretty good about doing that.
"Shooting against better teams makes you better. It motivates you to elevate your performance. Our kids seem to respond very well to that."
And the Ripley dynasty rolls on.
Reach John McCoy at 304-348-1231 or johnmc...@wvgazette.com.