By: Brittany J. Jones
Nashville, TN -(AmmoLand.com)- The hum of bowstrings radiated through Nashville, Tennessee’s Music City Center, as the top NASP (National Archery in the Schools Program) archers from around the world employed their craft at the shooting lines.
The NASP All-Star Championship (July Gladness opposed to March Madness) took place on July 26 through July 28, directly after NASP’s world tournament. Archers from the USA, Canada, United Kingdom (UK), South Africa (SA), and Namibia competed for various “All Star Champion titles”.
The NASP All-Star Championship proudly showcases and honors the top NASP archers who have, over the year, demonstrated their excellence in performing NASP’s Eleven Steps to Archery Success. Each archer had been identified and invited from each country’s respective national tournament. Each country’s team contained an outstanding and required mixture of 16 male and female shooters. (UK, being new to NASP had only 12 shooters.)
On the first day of competition all five all-star teams shot together in a “ranking flight”. During this flight archers shot the standard NASP set of five practice and 15 scored arrows from 10 and then 15 meters. Based upon their scores each country’s archers were ranked 1st-16th. Then four sub-teams were formed for each country with the top 4 boys and girls on team 1 next 4 on team 2, team 3, and team 4 (USA1, SA1, UK1, etc.). These sub-teams were then seeded according to the sum of each team’s 4 archers and positioned in a double elimination bracket so common in other sports’ tournaments.
For the remainder of the next 3 days the sub-teams competed head to head. Sub-team victories earned 10 points for their country while losses earned 5 points. When a sub-team lost a match in the “winner’s bracket,” the team moved to the “second chance” bracket. If a second loss occurred that sub-team was eliminated from the competition. This protocol resulted in every archer afforded an opportunity to shoot at least three matches, equivalent to three hours of shooting. However, some teams shot as many as six to seven matches. That amounted to 240-280 arrows per archer … a lot of shooting!
After three days of fierce and honest competition, the results of the 2015 NASP All Star Championship were as follows:
Team USA won first place with 210 points. South Africa was second with 150 points, and Namibia placed third with 90 points.
Charl Rabie, coach of the South Africa team commented, “We entered a young team this year, only 4 archers had been on the 2014 all star team. My archers surprised all with their results. To lose against USA1 by a single point, made us feel like champions. I am amazed, how archers’ scores improve when they shoot against other good scoring archers. Basically all my archers improved their personnel best scores.”
The last three sub-teams remaining in the brackets determined each 4-archer sub-team’s rank. Among the 19 sub-teams, USA2 was the champion, USA3 first runner up, and USA1 was the second runner up. To be the top sub-team, USA2 never lost a single match and in fact sent both USA1 and USA3 to the “second chance bracket.” They were definitely, in it to win it! Great job and congratulations to ALL of the teams!
Each team is of course comprised of individuals who strive to maintain form and focus throughout the 3 days of all-star matches. While it is a team event, individual honors were also bestowed. Individual recognition was awarded based upon the sum of each archer’s best three scores during the competition. These scores were as follows:
The overall all-star female was awarded to USA’s Marissa Phillips with a phenomenal score of 877. Runner-up female was presented to Sophie Kleinman for her total of 875 points.
The all-star overall male award was earned by both USA’s, Miles Wilson and South Africa’s, Gerdus Visser, with identical scores of 895. USA’s David Machart was a single point behind with 894 points to claim runner-up in the male category. Miles Wilson, was also a member of the first USA all-star team in 2013.
After this 2016 all-star event Miles offered, “I love the high intensity of the competition and the absolute unbeatable thrill of competing with the best of the best from all over the world and meeting people with the same interest and drive that you would have never met without the NASP all-star competition.”
Congratulations to Miles and all his new archery friends!!
This year’s all-star tournament wasn’t just about the top teams and shooters. Other highlights of note include USA’s Michael Downs starting off the competition with a perfect score of 300 during the ranking flight. That’s setting the bar high.
This year, the United Kingdom made its first appearance at a NASP tournament. Roy Grimes, President of NASP, said, “Having the United Kingdom in attendance was great! They were young, excited, and spoke with everyone’s favorite accent of the tournament! We look forward to having them in future competitions.”
Between matches the archers were able to compare notes, ideas, cultures, and simply have fun.
Once again Charl from South Africa commented, “I had goose bumps, when all the archers played duck, duck, goose. Just shows, we can have fun too.”
Canada, South Africa, and the United States continue to show their enthusiasm for NASP as they have been present at every all-star tournament, since the series began in 2013.
UK NASP Coordinator, Adrian Caddy had this to say, “The 2015 All-Star Championship was a first for UK NASP Archers, and by no means will it be the last. Every member of the UK Team enjoyed the event, its flawless organisation and the multitude of new friendships beyond all expectation. The youngest member of the UK Team is 11 years old, the eldest nearly 17. It is difficult to imagine any other sport, pursuit, or pastime that can unify a group of youngsters like NASP does with its all-stars event. The importance of the event is even greater than we recognised when we flew out of London air-bound for Nashville..!”
As this year’s championship concluded, there was a buzz in the air as archers were already thinking about attending the 2016 NASP All Star Championship in South Africa, next July.
Past USA all-star team member, NASP World Champion, and student manager for this year’s USA team, Cameron Peyton provided terrific perspective, “We met as archers and ended up as life long friends. We came from different areas and backgrounds but ultimately archery united us all.”
For more results and photographs, see: http://www.naspschools.org/events/?t=3.
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About National Archery in the Schools Program
The National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) promotes student education, physical education and participation in the lifelong sport of Archery. The mission of NASP is to promote 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.
For more information, please visit www.NASPSchools.org.