St. Louis has been selected to host the 2013 National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) World Tournament. The competition takes place Saturday and Sunday, June 29 and 30, with around 300 Missouri students from across the state competing in the tournament. Those students include ones from George Guffey Elementary in Fenton and Ridgewood Middle School in Arnold. Both schools are part of the Fox School District.
The NASP World Tournament will be held at the St. Louis Convention Center and the Edward Jones Dome, 701 Convention Plaza in downtown St. Louis. The competitions run from 8:15 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Saturday, and Sunday from 8:15 a.m.-2:15 p.m. The final tournament winners will be announced after 4 p.m. Sunday.
Approximately 2,800 students total are expected to compete during the two days. Shooters from 32 states, including Alaska are registered. Participants also come from as far away as Canada, South Africa and New Zealand. The general public is invited to attend the NASP World Tournament.
In the past, the world tournaments have been held in Orlando, Florida. NASP officials say this year’s selection of St. Louis was based its central location within the U.S.
NASP is an international program built around a two-week, standardized archery education unit taught in schools by NASP-certified instructors.
“The genius behind NASP is that every kid shoots the exact same arrow and the exact same type of bow,” said Eric Edwards, Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) statewide coordinator for the program, referred to as MONASP in Missouri.
“We have a range at both the Convention Center and the Jones Dome, and they’ll run simultaneously so we’ll be able get through 3,000 kids shooting archery,” Edwards said.
For this competition, he explained that archers shoot three scoring sets, known as “ends,” of five arrows each at both 10 meters and 15 meters, for a total of six ends and 30 arrows.
“We have a computer system that scans the score cards Sunday afternoon,” Edwards said, “and the top scores, based on the total for all 30 arrows, will be announced Sunday afternoon.
Winners will include highest overall male and female, along with the top scoring males and females in the following divisions:
- Elementary, grades 4-6
- Middle School, grades 7-8
- High School, grades 9-12
“300 is a perfect score, but we’ve never had one shot at the world tournament,” according to Edwards. “We’ve had several 298s and 297s, so it’s going to take somebody shooting very, very well—295 or higher—to win the tournament.”
Edwards said only the best of the best from around the world have the chance to compete at this level. Students must first complete the two-week NASP education unit, then progress through competitions at the regional, state and national levels before top scorers are invited to the NASP World Tournament.
Winners of the World Tournament will be eligible to receive archery equipment, scholarships, and be placed on the prestigious NASP World Team.
Edwards said he continues to be amazed at the archery skill that NASP students demonstrate. “They’re using a bare bow with no sighting device allowed, so it’s all instinctive shooting.”
According to the official NASP website; “The National Archery in the Schools Program promotes international-style target archery as part of the in-school curriculum, to improve educational performance and participation in the shooting sports among students in grades 4-12.”
Those seeking more information about the MONASP program, or who wish to find a school offering the unit, are encouraged to contact Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-522-4115, ext. 3295. Or they may visit mdc.mo.gov/node/3813.
Image courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation