More than 800 students from 30 schools competed here on March 8 at the 2013 National Archery in the Schools Program State Tournament run by the Pennsylvania Game Commission at the Penn State Multi-Sport Facility.

The event was the largest event to date and offered shooting opportunities for students to compete for top honors in many categories. The top schools in each of the three divisions – elementary, middle school and high school – automatically qualified for the national championships in Louisville, Kentucky May 10-11.  The first place team in the elementary school division (grades fourth through sixth) was New Castle Christian Academy. The middle school division champion (grades seventh through eighth) was Montrose Middle School.  Halifax Area High School won the High School division. These teams – and their members – qualify to shoot at the national tournament. Teams that meet minimum qualifying scores for their respective divisions also are eligible to attend the national shoot; they include New Castle Christian Academy Middle Team, Tunkhannock Area Middle Team, Tunkhannock Area High School Team, Beaver High School Team, Blue Ridge High School Team, New Brighton High School Team, Williams Valley High School Team and Montrose High School Team.

The 50 students who placed first through fifth in the male and female individual categories for each grade level of the three divisions also have qualified for the national competition. For a complete list of team and individual results, go to, scroll down and click on “2013 Pennsylvania NASP State Tournament.”

Competition offers an exciting component to students participating in NASP. Throughout the Commonwealth, interest in archery and bowhunting has experienced exponential growth and a portion of this success could be attributed to NASP. To encourage archers to continue shooting, the Game Commission coordinated a “Shooter’s Expo” to coincide with the tournament so that after they finished shooting, students could visit the Expo and learn about other opportunities available in archery through hunting and competitive leagues. Exhibitors included United Bowhunters of Pennsylvania, USA Archery’s Junior Olympic Archery Development, Penn State’s Archery team and much more. Two event sponsors, Lancaster Archery and Cabela’s, also had booths to meet with students and promote continued participation in the sport.

“NASP provides an essential opportunity to teach students to shoot archery,” said Samantha Pedder, Pennsylvania NASP coordinator and Game Commission outreach coordinator. “It up to the Game Commission to help these students find other archery opportunities through bowhunting and competitive shooting. Our Shooter’s Expo is one way to show students what other opportunities are available to them.”

In mid-2010, the Game Commission began coordinating Pennsylvania’s NASP, which helps school districts in Pennsylvania meet physical education curriculum requirements of the state Department of Education, while at the same time introducing them to the world of competitive archery. Last year, about 500 students from nearly two dozen school districts participated in the state competition. Studies conducted by the national NASP organization demonstrate that NASP is a great introduction to the sport of archery, and that many students choose to pursue the sport outside of school.

Started in Kentucky, in 2002, NASP has spread throughout the United States, and now is reaching around the world. At the end of the 2011-2012 school year, nine million students participated in NASP lessons in 10,000 schools throughout 47 states, Washington, D.C., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Tournaments are held at the state, national and international levels. NASP is a joint venture that partners with state education and wildlife management agencies and archery equipment manufacturers and organizations to promote student education, physical education and participation in the lifelong sport of archery. The program’s focus is to provide international-style archery training in physical education classes in grades four through 12.

Logo courtesy Pennsylvania Game Commission

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