Photo: Taking top honors for the 2015 NASP target competition are Miles Wilson, Irvington, Ala., overall male, and overall female, Sophia Kleinmann of Louisville, Ky.
From Prince of Wales, Alaska, to Washington, D.C., student archers, coaches, friends and family descended on the Louisville, Ky., Exposition Center May 6-9 for the 2015 National Archery in the Schools national tournament.
Nearly two and a half million students participate in NASP annually, with millions of kids, parents and teachers involved throughout the United States.
By the end of the three day NASP competition, 12,045 young archers from 763 schools in 42 states and the District of Columbia, surpassed their 2014 world record of 10,443 archers—an increase of more than 15 percent.
However, one world record in three days wasn’t enough for this massive group of 4th through 12th grade students. After they shot in the bull’s-eye competition, 2,841 of them went on to participate in the NASP/IBO 3D Challenge contest, promptly resetting the previous 3D world record which had been longstanding at 2,450 archers.
Taking top honors in the tournament among male archers was eleventh grader Miles Wilson from Alma Bryant High School in Irvington, Ala. He posted a near perfect 298 out of 300 record.
Eighth grade student Sophie Kleinman from Crosby Middle School in Louisville, Ky., placed top among lady archers with an equally impressive 297.
While many individuals win awards at NASP tournaments, teams play a dominant role throughout the event, including awards.
First place teams in each of the three divisions were Kentucky’s Trigg County High – 3,441; Ohio’s Logan Hocking Middle – 3,397; and Kentucky’s Shopville Elementary – 3,239 points. A perfect score would be a team’s top 12 archers scoring 300 each or 3,600 team points. Each participating team must contain at least four archers of both genders.
After the competition more than 2,000 spectators watched what many consider the highlight of the tournament—the scholarship shoot-off as the top five male and female archers shot again. Each shot five arrows for practice before five for score at 15 meters, for a total of $105,000 in scholarship cash.
Bradley Long a junior from Madison Central High School in Richmond, Ky., who barely made the shoot-off, first broke a tie to see if he would finish in fifth or sixth place.
“Mom, I was thinking during the shoot-off that if I could win it you wouldn’t have to worry about college expenses; now you don’t,” Bradley told his mother, when he finished first in the $20,000 scholarship shoot-off.
Keeping the world’s largest archery tournament running smoothly requires nearly 175 adult volunteers to maintain safety, keep on schedule, and provide archer assistance when needed.
When asked why he drives hundreds of miles to be a part of NASP Nationals every year, avid archer Jim Hart of Lafayette, Ind., said, “I love being around these thousands of happy kids.”
When surveyed, NASP students rate “fun” as the top reason why they like archery, with self-improvement and competing with friends close behind.
Archery is a co-gender sport. Of the competitors in this year’s NASP® Nationals, 45 percent were female and 55 percent were male archers.
This has been one of the most gratifying outcomes of the National Archer in the Schools program, according to NASP President Roy Grimes. “We designed NASP to be co-gender to help with Title IX participation issues. We are pleased, but not surprised, young ladies are equally capable and enjoy archery as much as young men.”
Next for the U.S. national archers will be the NASP® World Tournament held at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tenn., July 23-25. They will be joined by young archers from the other nine countries participating in the National Archery in the Schools Program.
For more information on NASP, a nonprofit program created with educators to improve student motivation, attention, behavior, attendance and focus, while developing student micro and macro motor skill abilities, listening and observation skills, as well as complete tournament results and information about sponsors, visit www.naspschools.com and http://www.naspschools.org/sponsors/.
– All Photos Courtesy NASP.