215 schools in Louisiana with over 40,000 4th-12th graders are involved in the ALAS program. (Archery in Louisiana Schools) 23 of these schools with 349 student archers recently made the trip to Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky to compete for $105,000 in scholarships. They did so by qualifying at the state level in Shreveport recently where $20,000 in scholarships was awarded. Students compete in an international style tournament where they release 15 arrows at 10 meters towards a bullseye target, and then 15 more arrows at the same target 15 meters away. Students then shoot at 6 different 3-D animal targets set up at angles from yardages between 10 and 15 meters.
For the second year in a row a Louisiana school has brought home a National Championship. Last year, Benton Middle School brought home Louisiana’s first ever National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP®) National Championship in the bullseye competition. This year Benton Elementary School brought home the honor in the Elementary Division, beating out 179 other schools from across the country.
Kingston Elementary School placed 2nd in bullseye behind neighboring Benton Elementary. Kingston also placed 2nd in the NASP/IBO 3-D portion of the NASP National Tournament. Kingston finished just 25 points behind Benton in bullseye and only 22 back of the National Champion in 3-D.
On the individual side; Aiden Jones of Haughton Middle School shot the highest score ever by a Louisiana archer at the NASP National Tournament. Aiden shot a 297, just 3 points shy of a perfect score. Two other Louisiana archers won individual awards at the event. Hannah McKenzie of Benton Elementary placed 3rd among elementary school females in bullseye and 5th in 3-D. Madeline Lowry, also of Benton Elementary, placed 4th in 3-D.
Other top ten finishes for Louisiana teams and archers were: Benton Middle School – 4th Place – Bullseye, Benton Elementary School – 5th Place – 3-D, Benton High School – 10th Place -3-D, Thomas Allen – Kingston Elem. – 6th Place Elem Boys – Bullseye & 7th place Elem Boys – 3-D, and Ava Searcy – Kingston Elem. – 9th place Elem Girls – 3-D.
Aiden has been doing 4H for 3 years and is where he was introduced to archery. “I really liked it even though 187 was my first score from earlier this year. I was the worst person on the team,” he laughed. “But I just kept practicing and getting better and better. I’ve got big indention in my fingers from shooting so much,” Aiden explained.
“I’m gonna start bow hunting this year with my Dad. I’m really looking forward to that!” Aiden also added that being a part of a team and shooting with his friends is his favorite part of being involved in ALAS.
Three Louisiana student archers have been named to the NASP All-American Academic teams including: Thomas Allen – Kingston Elementary, Hannah McKenzie – Benton Elementary, and Aiden Jones – Haughton Middle School. Many of these same students will move on to compete at the NASP World Tournament in Orlando, Florida in July.
The ALAS/NASP program is available to ALL schools in Louisiana, public and private. Grants are available to assist with funding. Not only does ALAS and NASP put every child on an even playing field but its not expensive to get into. Please encourage your local shop to carry this equipment as 43% of student archers in the program buy bowhunting bows and 34% of the students express interest in bowhunting. There is an opportunity here for everyone! For more information regarding the ALAS program, please contact us at [email protected] or Eric Shanks at [email protected] or (225)765-2355.