WATCH | State archery championship to attract 3,000-plus students to town Friday

Competitors in the Archery in the Schools State Tournament wait to collect their bows and approach the line to shoot while family members and coaches look on in March 2023. (The Sentinel-Record/Donald Cross/File)
Competitors in the Archery in the Schools State Tournament wait to collect their bows and approach the line to shoot while family members and coaches look on in March 2023. (The Sentinel-Record/Donald Cross/File)

Bank OZK Arena will be the site of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's Archery in the Schools State Championship Friday and Saturday, as over 3,000 students from across the state compete for a state title.

Aimee Swaim, AGFC Archery in the Schools interim coordinator, said it is an exciting time of the year for AGFC.

"Celebrating the accomplishments of these young archers, with the intent of creating pathways to the outdoors. ... This and other programs feed into the mission of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission," she said.

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This year marks the 16th state championship of Archery in the Schools, featuring middle school through high school students.

"They've been meeting here for over 10 years and if you've never seen it, it's incredible," Visit Hot Springs CEO Steve Arrison said Wednesday. "The whole 100,000 square feet is open -- all the way from Bank OZK Arena, all the way through our exhibit halls -- and targets set up, and the arrows are flying ... it's just a lot of excitement and a lot of kids participating."

The program began in 2005 as a pilot project with 10 schools participating. Bringing competitive archery into elementary, middle, and high schools across the state, the state championship was added in 2009.

This weekend's championship features the top 30 qualifying teams that will compete in one of three age-based divisions.

"It's just such a unique event," Arrison said. "It's just a really good event to watch. Everybody's excited to be participating and trying to win championships. We host this, we host state basketball, we host state cheerleading, state volleyball; this just another great championship event that brings people from all around the state to Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas."

Swaim said in a news release there were 24 state qualifiers between October and January. Teams can compete in as many as they wish, with their best score counting toward qualification.

"We have an additional six individuals who will shoot whose team did not qualify," she said. "Those were the highest scoring male and female shooters and the highest remaining shooter regardless of sex from the middle school and high school divisions whose team did not qualify for the championship."

Nearly 100 teams will compete in three different divisions. The elementary division, which includes fourth and fifth grades, competes Friday beginning at 8:30 a.m. along with the middle school division, made up of sixth through eighth graders.

A trophy presentation will cap the day at 4 p.m.

The senior high division, consisting of students in ninth through 12th grade, kicks off Saturday at 9 a.m. with trophy presentations at 2 p.m.

"We'll have 125 shooting lanes going at a time, and we'll take up the entire arena floor with that, but there's more to the event than the competition," Swaim said in the release.

Attendees may try their hand at 3D archery targets, visit one of the AGFC's mobile aquariums, or check out exhibits.

Tournament results will be posted at the end of each shooting day.

Elementary division qualifiers include Alpena High School, Arkansas Arts Academy, Bergman School, Cave City School District, Charleston Elementary, Collegeville Elementary, Deer/Mt. Judea School District, Eagle Mountain Magnet, Glen Rose Elementary, Greene County Tech Elementary, Hill Farm Elementary, Hurricane Creek Elementary, Jasper School District, Lamar Elementary, Lead Hill School District, Leslie Intermediate School, Magnet Cove Elementary, Maynard High School, Omaha School District, Parkway Elementary, Perryville Elementary, Robert L Davis Elementary, Salem Elementary-Bryant, South Pike County School, Southside Elementary, Taylor Elementary, Valley Springs High School, Valley View Elementary, Waldron Elementary, and Washington Middle School.

Middle school division qualifiers include Alpena High School, Arkansas Arts Academy, Barton Jr. High School, Bergman School, Bethel Middle School, Bryant Middle School, Cabot Junior High North, Cave City School District, Charleston Middle School, Columbia Christian School, Des Arc Elementary, De Queen Cubs, Glen Rose Middle School, Greene County Tech Middle School, Jasper School District, Leah Hill School District, Magnet Cove Middle School, Marshall High School, Omaha School District, Ozark Junior High, Pangburn High School, Perryville Middle School, Pottsville Junior High, South Pike County School, Southside Middle School, Stuttgart Jr. High School, Taylor Middle School, Valley Springs High School, Valley View Jr. High, and Washington Middle School.

High school division qualifiers include Acorn High School, Alpena High School, Arkansas Arts Academy, Bentonville High School, Bergman School, Bryant High School, Cabot High School, Cave City School District, Charleston High School, De Queen High School, Glen Rose High School, Greene County Tech High School, Hillcrest High School, Jasper School District, Lead Hill School District, Lincoln High School, Marshall High School, Omaha School District, Ozark High School, Pangburn High School, Parkview High School, Pottsville High School, South Pike County School, Spa City Archery, Stuttgart High School, Sylvan Hills High School, Taylor High School, Valley Springs High School, Valley View Senior High, and Vilonia High School.

Individual archers who qualified include Zachary Allen, Deer/Mt. Judea High School; Jaren Howell, Waldron High School; Carleigh McClung, Brookland High School; Jackson Nix, Homeschoolers On Target; Millie Ramden, Star City Middle School; and Jasper Yarbrough, River Roots WILD School.

To find scores and more information, visit

www.agfc.com/ais.

  photo  A Magnet Cove Elementary student watches his arrow hit its mark while practicing ahead of the Archery in the Schools State Tournament in March 2023. (The Sentinel-Record/Donald Cross/File)
 
 

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