The National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) got its start some 15 years ago in our neighboring state of Kentucky. Since then hundreds of thousands of young archers have learned the sport of archery and have taken it to unending heights.
The program has spread to states all over the US and many different countries around the world. Over 300 schools participate in the program right here in West Virginia.
With so many students participating in this program now, the shooters have to qualify by participating in tournaments held throughout the state in order to get ranked and invited to the WVDNR State Tournament shoot either as part of a team or as an individual. Student scores are entered into a virtual tournament online and these scores determine who will be allowed to participate in the State Tournament.
Once the students reach the State level, they compete for the chance to go on to the National Tournament held in Louisville, Kentucky. Archers can qualify either on a team or as an individual to go to Nationals.
The top teams in each division at the State Tournament automatically qualify for Nationals. Other teams who score high enough can qualify with scores totaling 2650 for the Elementary School division (4th-5th Grades), 3000 for the Middle School Division (6th-8th Grades), and 3100 for the High School Division (9th-12th Grades).
These scores are compiled by a 12 person team comprised of at least 4 members of the opposite gender. All teams must be co-ed! That totals out to an average score for each team member being higher than 221 points out of a possible 300 on the Elementary team, 250 on the Middle School team and 258 on the High School team. WOW!
Even if your team score isn’t that high, a shooter can still make it as an individual by placing in the top 10 in their division. Two local archers shot well enough at this year’s State Tournament to do just that.
Next week, May 12th through the 14th, Chase Herndon and Lydia Ratz will be representing NASP archers from all over Southern West Virginia at the National Tournaments. These two students were on their game and shot scores sending them to the next step in NASP archery.
Chase Herndon, 8th Grader from Beth Haven Christian School, is no stranger to Nationals and once again this year won his division and took his spot as the first place winner for the Middle School Male Shooter at the State Tournament. This was just one of his 8 tournament wins this year.
Lydia Ratz, 5th Grader from Chapmanville Middle School, made her second trip to the WV State Tournament and pulled out a second place finish in the Elementary School Female division and secured her spot to shoot at the National competition. These shooters competed against the best shooters in the state to earn this honor and are ready for the challenge to see how far they can go.
A tremendous number of hours and arrows shot go into getting to the shoot-out in the bluegrass state and these two archers are more than willing to put in the effort. They aren’t alone. Students from all over the state, and the country, will make the trip to Louisville and shoot their hearts out next week with the hope of continuing on to the World Tournaments to be held in June at Myrtle Beach, SC.
Win, lose, or draw, it is a great accomplishment to make it to the National Stage and shoot with thousands of the best archers in the country. The experience will be one that they will not likely forget.
So if you happen to see Chase or Lydia around town or at the ball game, wish them good luck on their upcoming tournament, but don’t challenge them to a shoot off. Robin Hood and William Tell would have their hands full with these two.
Good luck and best wishes to Chase and Lydia as they make the trip out to the Kentucky Exposition Center next week. Enjoy the experience and know that everyone is rooting for you.