ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A Henley Middle School student earned an award Thursday afternoon from the county and school to recognize his persistence and patience.

Principal LaRuth Ensley says these qualities are what make him a pro at "pitchin' horseshoes."

Eleven-year-old Eli Sullivan started throwing with his dad when he was six in pits they built together.

He got good and began playing in tournaments. He has been dubbed the state champion three times. He also won the world champion title at a competition in Louisiana.

Eli says never giving up is what led to his success.

"Yeah, just never give up if you're on something if you're like down from points if you’re losing a game. Just don't give up, just keep working hard, and eventually, you'll win," he said.

Eli spent time showing members of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and school faculty and staff his techniques and explained the rules of horseshoes.

He is the first to win this award.