Aug 23, 2012 12:31 PM
On Thursday, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association announced it will add archery as a varsity sport starting this year.
Kentucky was the first state to introduce archery into schools. Elementary, middle and high school shooters have enjoyed archery competition for nearly a decade. Following in that tradition, the Bluegrass State will become one of the first states in the nation to offer archery as a varsity sport. The regional and state competitions will take place in late February and early March.
Archery joins competitive cheer and bass fishing as the newest sport-activities offered by the KHSAA, along with bowling. Cheer and bass fishing will host their first KHSAA-sanctioned state championships in late January and April respectively, The first bowling state championship tournament played out last school-year.
"We are thrilled to be able to add archery to our growing list of sport-activities," KHSAA Julian Tackett said. "It's another activity that seems like a perfect fit as it adds a group of students who may not already participate in an extra-curricular activity representing their school and it gives them a chance to compete and become a part of a team. Kentucky's rich outdoor heritage certainly helps but the work done by Roy Grimes, President of the National Archery in the Schools Program, and his team of experts in helping the sport reach a wider audience has been phenomenal. Students who have participated have a lifelong love for archery."
The NASP program, launched by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources in 2002, quickly gained widespread popularity. Kentucky ranks No. 1 among 47 NASP states in both number of participating schools and students.
"Expansion of NASP will accelerate as students of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds and genders enjoy success in archery," Ches Riddle, President of the Kentucky NASP Foundation, said.
The first KHSAA sanctioned state championship for archery will be held in Louisville at the Kentucky International Convention Center in conjunction with the KYNASP tournament on March 18-19, 2013. The venue previously played host to numerous high school and middle school shooting competitions, including last year's state NASP state competition, which attracted more than 3,000 competitors. Overall more than 10,000 students statewide participated in school sponsored club teams last year at the elementary, middle and high school levels.
"The NASP has been wildly successful from the day it started back in 2002," Jon Gassett, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, said. "To see what the championship has grown into is very satisfying and I'm sure it will only continue to grow with the help and sanctioning of the KHSAA. At the same time it has served an important strategic purpose for us. The numbers have shown that students who have participated in archery develop a deep appreciation for the sport as well as the large number of other shooting sports the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources supports. These students are the lifeblood and the future of our effective fish and game management efforts in the Commonwealth."
Since the formation of the NASP a decade ago, Kentucky's educational leaders say they have noticed the strong link between archery and classroom success.
"The My favorite thought as an educator is that NASP involves students that sometimes do not get involved with their school. Student achievement data from multiple sources proves that students that are connected to their schools perform better academically," superintendent of Madison County Schools Tommy Floyd, said. "While they are connected to NASP, they also form relationships with the NASP coaches and teachers, and receive multiple opportunities to develop 21st century skills that will make them even more successful in their transition to adulthood."
More information about the National Archery in the Schools Program may be found at www.archeryintheschools.org