Alaska sent a group of student archers more than 4,000 miles to Louisville, Kentucky to participate in the 2010 National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP®) national tournament May7-8. Thirty three states were represented at the tournament. The event was the “largest archery tournament in the world.” Six thousand seven hundred eighty four students participated in the international style target event. Boys and girls from elementary, middle, and high school teams competed for team and individual awards. At the tournament’s conclusion, the top four boys and four girls competed for $14,000 in college tuition as 5,000 archers, coaches, parents, and fans cheered them on.
The 4th-12th grade student archers shot the same bow and 30 arrows at identical targets from distances of 10 and 15 meters. The NASP® Genesis bows are shot without accessories such as sights, stabilizers or release aids. The top score possible is 300. NASP®’s world record is 298 points which is co-held by past champions, Kentucky’s Graham Cofield and Michigan’s Jessica Nystrom. Susan Harrington, an Ohio teacher commented, “The Put-In-Bay Team had an awesome time at the Nationals again this year! Bring back that National Guard bouncy thing next year,that was a huge hit with my kids!
The overall team championship in the elementary division went to Trigg County Elementary from Cadiz, Kentucky with a total team score of 3287. Teams consist of 16-24 boys and girls and are required to be coed.
The winner in the middle school Division was Ashville Middle School from Ashville, Alabama with a score of 3378. NASP® started in 21 middle schools in Kentucky in 2002 and quickly grew to more than 120 schools within 13 months. Today, 46 states, Canada, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand have enrolled schools in NASP®.
The winning team in the High school division was Trigg County High from Cadiz, Kentucky with a score of 3397. Kentucky leads the U.S. with 933 schools enrolled in NASP® serving more than 180,000 students in the 4th to 12th grades.
North Dakota teacher Mike Scharnowske offered, “What a great experience! The tournament went like clockwork even with 7,125 archers. My two girls had a great time and the extra day we spent sightseeing (and making small wagers on the horses). I would definitely recommend the trip to anyone and will go again if the opportunity presents itself.”
NASP® is taught in more than 7,350 schools nationwide to more than 1.5 million students annually. Teachers report improvements in students’ ability to concentrate, focus, and follow directions. NASP® students report that archery is fun and they look forward to going to school on ‘archery days’.
The National Safety Council reports that archery is safer than all ball sport taught in schools………except table tennis. NASP® lessons must be taught during the school day and are usually taught as a part of the physical education curriculum by more than 16,000 NASP® trained teachers.
The National Champion girl and boy archers by grade levels are:
• 4th grade Cole Rautenberg (279), Sunrise Elementary, White Beaver Lake, Minnesota
o Sherri Bullock(284), Eubank, Elementary, Eubank, Kentucky
• 5th grade John Bailey(285), Bay Creek Elementary, Loganville, Georgia
o Meredith Noland(288) Chickasha Elementary, Chickasha, Oklahoma
• 6th grade Mary Aldridge(288), Bondurant Elementary, Frankfort, Kentucky
o Colton Fry(288),Dent Phelps, Salem, Missouri
• Middle School (7-8 grades) Shaye Patterson(295),Trigg County Middle, Cadiz, Kentucky
o Hunter Brown (295),Prestonsburg Middle, Prestonsburg, Kentucky
• High School (9-12th grades) Stephanie Whisenant (296), Ashville High School, Ashville, Alabama and Steff Bisinger(296), Alburnett Community School, Alburnett, Iowa tied for top female overall honors.
• The top High School Division and tournament overall male champion was Nathan Parcell (297), Meade County High School, Brandenburg, Kentucky
NASP® awards “SPIRIT” awards to teams exhibiting the best sportsmanship and team support. These went to Michigan’s Hartland High School, Oklahoma’s Chickasha Middle School, and Kentucky’s Shopville, Elementary. A special “20/20 Vision” award was presented to Gene Wilhoit, Executive Director, of the Council of Chief State School Officers in Washington, DC. Mr. Wilhoit was the Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Education and was instrumental in the formation and promotion of archery in the schools in Kentucky.
As has been the case in every NASP® National Tournament Morrell Manufacturing provided the target butts and paper faces for this year’s tournament. In fact, Morrell provided an extra 80 targets this year so an additional 2,080 students could participate in the event. Along with Mathews Archery, Easton Technical Products, The Block, National Wild turkey Federation, Archery Trade Association and others, Morrell has been one of the most consistent supporters of NASP®. The National Field Archery Association’s, MJ Rogers located in Yankton, South Dakota once again provided invaluable support to the event by providing equipment and assistance with the indoor archery range.
Tournament staff totaled 137 this year with many of these volunteers representing the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources, United Bowhunters of Kentucky, Kentucky Traditional Bowhunters, Mathews Pros, and NASP® coordinators from the U.S. and Canada.
Kentucky State University presented an exhibit at this year’s tournament to help high school students plan their educational future. The tournament’s range supervisor was also provided by Kentucky State University.
This was the first year for national sponsorship by the Plano® manufacturing company becoming a Black Ring-level sponsor of NASP®.
The Army National Guard was also represented at the tournament as a Bulls Eye-level national sponsor for the first time this year. ARNG provided a three story climbing and obstacle course, special forces trailer, and brought their FLW® bass boat and tournament pro anglers.
Many of these archers will next gather for the 2010 NASP World Tournament in the Jostens® Center October 6-9, 2010 located at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World® Resort near Orlando, Florida.
The date and location for the 2011 NASP® Nationals will be announced shortly.
For more information about NASP® or this Tournament please go to: www.archeryintheschools.org