The Archery in the Schools program is organized by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) and is present in more than 300 schools across the state. It is open to public, private and home school students in grades 4 through 12. This is a great program that gives students who aren’t interested in traditional sports the opportunity to participate and compete as a team or on an individual basis. West Virginia has a strong hunting heritage and many of us grow up learning how to shoot both guns and bows. I really wish they had this program while I was in school as I would’ve definitely participated as I fall in the category of not playing sports while in high school. The Archery in the Schools program is safe and inclusive for students, regardless of ability, gender or skill level.
“More than 100,000 students have gone through our Archery in Schools program since it started in 2004,” said Kayla Donathan, program coordinator for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. “It started in eight pilot schools around the state and we now we have more than 300 schools participating. That includes 4th through 12th graders from public, private, Christian and home schools.” In order to participate the school must have a trained instructor and approved equipment that meets safety standards.
The program and equipment are standardized so every student is participating with the same guidelines. There are no pins or sights allowed to be attached to the bow and students learn to shoot instinctively. The use of a release aid is not permitted and students have to use their fingers to draw the bow back. All archers shoot from the same distance and the highest score wins. The center of the target has a 10 ring and is the highest score one can get with one shot.
The 15th Annual West Virginia State Archery in the Schools State Tournament is on March 28, 2020 on the campus of Marshall University in the Chris Cline Athletic Complex. Schools qualifying as a team must send a minimum of 12 shooters of which 4 must be the opposite gender. Teams may have no more than 24 shooters. Only one team per school will be permitted. For individuals, the top 20 shooters male/female per division (who are not already on a qualifying team) from the State Qualifying Tournament will be eligible to participate in the State Tournament.
Shooting divisions for teams and individuals are broken into 3 categories: Elementary School which is 4th-5th grade, Middle School is 6th-8th grade, and High School is 9th-12th grade. First place teams in each division are automatically qualified to attend the NASP® Eastern National Tournament on May 7-9, 2020 in Louisville, KY.
Additional teams may attend with qualifying scores. The top ten male and female winners in each division also qualify to attend the NASP® Eastern National Tournament.
I would like to wish good luck to all of the students participating in this year’s state tournament. Stay calm and shoot straight.