Louisville, Kentucky, famous for the great Ali, baseball bats, and fast horses, once again hosted the highly anticipated 2017 National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP®) national tournament.
This was NASP®’s fifteenth national tournament since its inception on March 3, 2002. Student archers, coaches, parents, and friends from forty-one states and Washington DC gathered at the Louisville Exposition Center from May 11-13 for three record-breaking tournaments under one roof!
In addition to the nearly 30,000 friends and family in attendance, 14,492 youth were present and eager to participate in the world’s largest archery tournament. This was a 12.4 percent increase over the 2016’s nationals! Not only did NASP® see an increase in the bulls-eye competition, but the International Bow Hunting Organization 3D Challenge (NASP/IBO/3D Challenge) entertained 4,123 shooters, six hundred more than last year. Finally, 1,850 participated in Centershot Ministries’ (“archery in the church”) tournament, double the record attendance established in 2016. Including participants, more than 45,000 people attended, including the 240 hard working volunteers that make this event possible every year.
Shooters competed in elementary, middle school, and high school divisions. Like previous tournaments, there were twenty flights, and each flight was seventy-five minutes in length. As the bulls-eye competition commenced, each archer took to their assigned lane where each shot 5 practice and 15 scoring arrows from both 10 and 15 meter shooting lines. A perfect score of 300 (30 bullseyes) has never been shot at Nationals, but several come close. The results of the bulls-eye competition are as follows.
In the elementary division, Austin Hall, a fifth grader from Northern Elementary, received top honors with his score of 292. From
White Hall Elementary, fifth grader Olivia Lyle achieved the top female category with her score of 288. From the middle school division Henry Thompson, an eighth grader from Anderson County Middle School achieved the top male category with a score of 298, and Emmaline Kleinman from Crosby Middle School took the top female spot with a score of 294. From the high school division, Chance Seabolt, an eleventh grader from North Murray High School, was high scorer in the male category with a 298. Bailey White, also an eleventh grader from Lawrence County High School achieved the top female rank with her score of 298. As you can see from the results, NASP® is truly a co-gender sport. In fact, 47 % of the participants were female and the top boy and top girl BOTH shot a near perfect 298 out of a possible 300. NASP® had one of its highest numbers of tied scores this year, fifteen to be exact! In fact, during the tie-breakers archers continued to match scores! After ties were settled, bows were racked and arrows put away, Lawrenceburg, Kentucky’s Henry Thompson was the overall male champion, and Bailey White from Monticello, MS took overall female! Congratulations Bailey and Henry on your achievements!
Of course, the national tournament wouldn’t be complete without the scholarship shoot-off. During this part of the tournament, the top five male and female archers had a chance to shoot for an array of cash scholarships to be utilized for any post-secondary education of their choosing. This year NASP® gave away $105,000 in individual cash scholarships. The results of the scholarship shoot-off are as follows: In the male category, T. Sanchez was the winner of the $20k scholarship. Henry Thompson won $15k scholarship, Todd Craghead received the $10k scholarship, Aiden Jones received $5k, and Chance Sabot received $2.5k. In the female category, winning the $20k scholarship was Sydney Vivian. Samantha Hartman-Stackhouse received $15k, Bailey White $10k, Maria Zielinkski, shooting a borrowed bow, won the $5k scholarship, and finally, Anne Reinkemeyer received $2.5k in cash scholarships. Congratulations archers!
Team scholarships were also awarded to each of the 24 members of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd placing High School (HS) teams. Thanks to Academy Sports each of the 1st place HS team members was awarded a $1,000 scholarship. Easton Technical Products provided $750 to each of the 2nd place HS team members, and American Whitetail Targets provided $500 to each 3rd place HS team member.
During the 2017 NASP® tournament awards program, Easton Technical Products, title sponsor of the NASP® Academic Archer Program, awarded a prize package to the top male and female Academic Archer in each of the three bullseye divisions – elementary, middle school and high school. Each prize package included Easton arrows, Easton accessories, a Delta McKenzie Target and a Hoyt bow of their choice.
With all the excitement that radiates from the students, we often forget that NASP® has a profound affect not only on the youth competing, but their parents as well. During the national tournament, a father approached Roy Grimes, President of NASP® to let him know just what NASP® has meant to him over the years. He said, “I’ve been attending NASP® tournaments since my sons were in the sixth grade. My last son graduates this year and I will miss coming to the tournaments as much as they will miss competing.” Of course, NASP® appreciates and thanks all the parents who not only support and encourage their children in a sport they enjoy immensely, but also for the miles and expenses endured to attend the event.
In addition to the competitors, parents, and volunteers, we must not forget the sponsors whose generous contributions have allowed NASP® to flourish over the years. Easton Technical Products (TP) provides the arrows while Morrell Targets are used at the competition. Of course, Mathews Archery provides all the bows for the archers to use, as well. These are just a few of the many sponsors who donate to NASP®. TruBall’s Ben Summers was very excited to witness his first NASP® nationals as was his son who competed in the event. “This was my favorite archery tournament that I’ve ever attended, including the Olympics and [the] World Cup Finals in Copenhagen and Lausanne, Switzerland. You all should be commended on how well the tournament was run and for the enormous positive [affect] that it has for archery! Thanks for the great memories!”
As the 2017 NASP® nationals wrapped up on Mother’s Day weekend and kids returned home, the program and its top achievers prepare for fun in the sun at the 2017 world tournament in cheery Orlando, Florida. Worlds will take place July 21 and 22nd at the Orange County Convention Center. So, the beautiful and quick ponies need to make a bit of room, because Louisville has become famous for the world’s largest archery tournaments as well! For further information and results, please can visit www.nasptournaments.org.