A record fell as archers shot more than 40,000 arrows Saturday, March 24, during the fourth annual Missouri National Archery in the Schools (MoNASP) state tournament. The tourney drew 1,169 competitors from 53 schools across Missouri to the Multi-Purpose Building on the University of Central Missouri campus.
Brandon Whitley of St. Clair Junior High School set a new scoring record for the meet and was top individual male shooter and top shooter for middle school males. Anna Hughes of Logan-Rogersville High School was the top female archer. The highest possible score from shooting 30 arrows at two distances is 300. Whitley set the new meet record for an individual competitor with a 293 score, while Hughes was tops among female archers with 281. They each received trophies and a special edition Genesis bow.
The archery match awarded prizes for top finishes in three different age groups for individual competitors and for the top teams in the elementary, middle school and high school categories. Winning teams and individuals, along with other teams and individuals with qualifying scores, will compete in the National Archery in the Schools (NASP) national tournament May 11-12 in Louisville, Ky. State regional tournaments were held earlier in the year.
George Guffey Elementary School of Fenton, Mo., won the elementary team category for the fourth year in a row.
MoNASP is coordinated through the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the Conservation Federation of Missouri in partnership with schools and supporting organizations throughout the state. MoNASP is an affiliate of NASP and promotes education, self-esteem and physical activity for students in grades 4-12 through participation in the sport of archery.
“Everything went very smooth,” said Eric Edwards, MDC outdoor education supervisor who organized the tourney. “We had fourth-grade students on up through twelfth-graders on the shooting lines, and sometimes the younger kids got as good a score as the high schoolers.”
Archers shoot at Olympic-style targets. After a practice round, they fire 15 arrows from 10 meters and 15 arrows from 15 meters. All competitors use the same type of compound bow designed for target shooting and the same type of arrows. No extra gear such as sights on bows are allowed, so shooting skills alone determine scores and equipment is not a factor.
“It’s all instinctive shooting,” said Chris Capps, MDC outdoor skills specialist. “It’s all about shooting with the correct stance and the correct anchor point. The more consistent they are on the release, the more accurate they will be.”
The tournament attracted more than 3,000 participants, coaches, family members and general spectators.
“I love it,” said Darlene Beshears of Hannibal who was watching a granddaughter compete. “These kids really take this to heart and it is fun to watch them.”
More than 34,000 Missouri students from 208 schools participate in MoNASP. Since NASP’s beginnings in 2002, more than 8.8 million students have participated in the program through more than 10,000 schools in 47 states and five countries.