ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Students from Greensburg Junior High School (GJHS) and South Decatur Elementary School (SDES) archery teams traveled to St. Louis, Mo., recently to compete in the 2013 National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) World Championship.
Each team consisted of 24 members. The 48 archers and their chaperones loaded onto a charter bus in the early morning of June 28 for the drive to the America Center and Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis to compete at the 2013 NASP World Championship the following day. The bus left Greensburg with a police escort, showing the town’s support for the young archers. After arriving in St. Louis, both teams enjoyed a trip to the St. Louis Zoo and visited the St. Louis Gateway Arch before the competition.
The young archers worked all year to get to the world championship. In addition to after-school practices during the school year, archers practiced at Cutting Edge Sporting Goods during the week and on Saturdays. Each member of both archery teams made a significant time commitment to honing their skills, according to Tom Stricker, owner of Cutting Edge and coach of the GJHS archery team. Stricker allows team members to practice free of charge at his indoor shooting range.
The practice appears to have paid off. Both teams improved their overall scores from the national competition. “When a team can improve scores from one competition to another, that shows real growth – and both teams improved their scores,” said Stricker.
The 48 archers from Decatur County were among the 2,907 archers from 22 states, and two provinces in Canada, to compete in the world tournament. Archers were present to represent 175 schools at the fifth annual NASP World Championship. The GJHS team is coached by Tom Stricker and Darci Kovacich while the SDES team is led by Clint Pride and Kevin Doyle, as well as numerous assistants for both teams.
The world championship followed the same format and rules that more than two million NASP students used during the 2012-13 school year. Additionally, each student used the same Mathews Genesis bow and Easton aluminum arrows. All bows were bare of sights and stabilizers, as well as any other form of aid. Because every archer used the exact same equipment, the focus was placed on the shot process for each arrow.
Every archer, regardless of experience or grade-level, shot five practice arrows and 15 scored arrows at an 80 centimeter target, from both 10 and 15 meters away. Team scores were compiled by adding the top 12 scores from each team, as long as both genders were represented in the final score.
The Pirate team placed 18 out of 57 teams and improved their record-breaking team score from the national competition by 90 points, with an overall score of 3,209. The Cougar team placed seventh out of 40 teams, improving their record-breaking team score from the national competition by five points, with an overall score of 3,155.
Neither team had outside funding and were forced to look elsewhere when it came to equipment and travel costs. Through a series of fundraisers and generous sponsors, the teams were able to raise enough money for all the equipment they need and the required amount for the trip to St. Louis. Teams are already looking for funding for next year and are very grateful for every donation. Sponsorship for the award-winning teams is very welcomed, for any individuals or business interested.
For more information about sponsoring or donating to one of the teams, please contact Cutting Edge Sporting Goods at 812-560-4208. There is also a donation jar at the cash register at Cutting Edge, as well as archery figurines available for a five dollar fee. Cutting Edge Sporting Goods is located at 206 West Main Street. Stricker said he also has a summer archery program available for new archers that are interested in learning the craft and perhaps trying out for one of the teams. The summer archery program started in June and cost $40 per person.
Other schools in the county have noticed the success of the GJHS and SDES teams and have begun the process to start teams as well. According to Stricker, every school in Decatur County should have an archery team next year. SDES coach Clint Pride hopes to reach an overall team score of 3,200 next year, which would be a phenomenal team score for the elementary school division.
“We surpassed all of our goals and I am super proud of them. We did great. We will have a all new team next year of fourth and fifth graders and my expectations are high. We set a high standard this year and I expect next year will be wonderful,” said Coach Pride.
The GJHS team also hopes to drive their scores higher. “We expect to have many more archers next year and for scores to go even higher. It will be great to see the program spreading to all the county schools,” said Stricker.
With such a legendary year behind them, the 2013 archers leave a blazing trail to follow. If trends continue as they have been, 2014 could bring a number of broken records.
Contact: Amanda Browning 812-663-3111 x7004