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Record Turnout For The Fifth Annual Archery In The Schools Tournament

Daryn Benish, 18, of Prairie du Chien High School, displays excellent form during the Fifth annual NASP Wisconsin State Tournament. WDNR Photo

Daryn Benish, 18, of Prairie du Chien High School, displays excellent form during the Fifth annual NASP Wisconsin State Tournament. WDNR Photo

Wisconsin DNR

Wisconsin DNR

WISCONSIN RAPIDS --(AmmoLand.com)- A record 635 archers from 18 schools converged on East Junior High School in Wisconsin Rapids for the fifth annual National Archery in the Schools Program state tournament.

That makes it the largest archery tournament ever held in Wisconsin. Participation at this year’s event, held in late March, was five times the number of competitors who attended the inaugural tournament in 2006.

“The more we can get kids into archery, the more skills and interests they develop, and the more time they spend outside connecting with the natural world – important preparation for becoming the conservation stewards of tomorrow,” said DNR Secretary Matt Frank.

Shooting bows with their fingers – no trigger releases are allowed – and without any kind of sighting device – not even a pencil mark on the bow – some of the students were able to stick one arrow after another in the 10-point bulls-eye, a circle no more than three or four inches in diameter.

“The skill of some of these young archers is a wonder to behold,” said Dan Schroeder, a natural resources educator with the state Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin state coordinator for NASP. “They are very accomplished archers. It’s gratifying to see these kids get better and better with each passing year.”

The rings surrounding the bull’s-eye have point values from 9 to 1 moving away from center. Shooting three sets of five arrows from 10 meters and three sets from 15 meters, the highest possible score, if all 30 arrows find the center mark, is 300.

The male tournament champion was Jason Marek from Bloomer Middle School who shot a 284.

Michelle Secora, De Pere High School, and Teresa Zoller from Manitowoc High School each shot a 282 to become the 2010 NASP female state co-champions.

The first place schools in their divisions were Spring Hill Elementary, Wisconsin Dells; Osseo Middle School; and Cadott High School.

Betty Holler is a parent volunteer for the Cadott team. She said the program is in its fourth year at Cadott. The students are so enthused, she said, they engage in community service projects to raise funds so the team can compete at state.

Several DNR conservation wardens worked the tournament, assisting with range safety and acting as referees in cases where an arrow’s point score was a close call. But their involvement in NASP runs much deeper. Several – like wardens Kelly Crotty and Tim Price – are NASP-certified teacher instructors, which meant taking a three-day course. They in turn teach the eight-hour course teachers must complete to become basic archery instructors in their schools.

Surveys show the program is incredibly popular with teachers, who give it a 94 percent approval rating. Of the student archers, 77 percent had no prior experience with archery before NASP came to their school.

“One of the things we find is that it helps with attendance,” said Eric Boson, who coaches the Marshfield High School team. “It’s one of those things kids don’t want to miss in school.”

Another teacher and coach, Brent Seamans, transferred to Prairie du Chien from a school district in Alaska where he became a NASP-certified instructor. One of the beauties of the program is that it is exactly the same, with the same equipment and training, no matter what state or country it takes place.

NASP organizers are careful to separate NASP from any programs designed to teach bow hunting. NASP is about target shooting only. Still, target shooting offers a gateway to bow hunting. Surveys show that more than half of these student archers will continue launching arrows after graduating from the program, some focusing on target shooting, others on hunting.

For the point of view of state wildlife officials, either of these outcomes is a benefit, given that a federal excise tax on all archery equipment helps fund state wildlife programs.

More importantly, the growing popularity of NASP offers the prospect of slowing or stopping the continued national decline in the number of licensed hunters and anglers. The “conservation model” in this country is largely dependent on license fees and other forms of financial support from hunters and fishermen. These outdoors lovers form a critical constituency for habitat restoration and land conservation.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Dan Schroeder – (920) 740 – 7528

Elementary Team scores
First: 2942 – Spring Hill Elementary, Second: 2853 – Portage John Muir Elementary, Third: 2661 – Superior Elementary.

Middle School scores
First: 3132 – Osseo Middle School, Second:3120 – Spring Hill Middle School,Third: 2858 – Superior Middle School

High School team scores
First: 3210 – Cadott High School, Second: 3189 – De Pere High School, Third: 3168 – Osseo-Fairchild High School.

Individual Scores Overall

Female:

  • First: 282 – Michelle Secora, DePere High School, and Teresa Zoller, Manitowoc High School
  • Second: 280 – Katie Coughlin, 280-Spring Hill Middle school
  • Third: 279 – Andrea Roth, Cadott High School

Male:

  • First: 284 – Jason Marek, Bloomer Middle School
  • Second: 279 – Devon Wendt, Cadott High School
  • Third: 278 – Garrett Lohr, Portage High School
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