Archery tourney evens playing field for all students

By Wayne Bryan Originally Published February 14, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated February 13, 2013 at 3:32 p.m.
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Students of all ages and sizes competed at the recent Arkansas National Archery in the Schools Program 2013 Southwest Regional Tournament in Glen Rose, one of six regional competitions held across the state.

Arkansas School Archery Tournament

Students from the southwest part of Arkansas converged on Glen Rose for an archery tournament. (By Wayne Bryan)
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— For most school sports, there are various classes and divisions, weight categories, grade levels or skill levels for competition, but Saturday at the Glen Rose High School gymnasium, more than 400 student archers competed on an even playing field.

High school seniors stood at the shooting line with elementary and middle school students for the Arkansas National Archery in the Schools Program 2013 Southwest Regional Tournament.

“The same standards are used for all the archers,” said Renee Langford, a fifth-grade teacher at Glen Rose and instructor of the school’s archery program. “They all use the same bows and same arrows from the same distances.”

Glen Rose and Langford hosted the regional competition, sponsored by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. The archers at the school have made a name for themselves in the state’s archery program, having gone to national competitions several times.

“This was our first competition of the year,” Langford said. “We started practicing in September. The students come in at 6:20 in the morning. They are serious about it.”

She has said that the school has not had a lot of local competition in the past, but Magnet Cove and Bauxite schools have added an archery program this year.

In practice, as in the tournament, Langford has all the archers shoot together.

“We have the elementary students practice with the middle school to let them know there will be older and more experienced kids shooting with them, she said.

The Southwest competition at Glen Rose was one of six regional competitions held across the state on Saturday.

“The number of competitors is up over 30 percent from the previous year, with 2,710 archers scheduled to compete,” said Curtis Gray, archery program coordinator for the Game and Fish Commission. “We have 600 more students signed up for the tournaments than any previous competition we’ve held.”

Regional tournaments took place at Clarksville High School, Bergman High School in Harrison, Eagle Mountain Magnet School in Batesville, Joe T. Robinson High School in Pulaski County and Monticello Schools, as well as Glen Rose.

Winners from each regional tournament will go on to compete in the state tournament March 15 and 16 at the Hot Springs Convention Center.

“We want as many teams as possible to score well enough that they can participate in the state tournament,” said Alex Henson, a regional education coordinator with the Game and Fish Commission who was one of the chief officials of the regional tournament. “That students of all ages from fourth grade to high school and different skill levels compete together is one of the unique and special things about this event.”

“Archery is a great way to sharpen skills, build self-esteem and create a stronger atmosphere for success in the classroom,” Gray said. “They learn an outdoor hobby they may enjoy for the rest of their lives. You can’t say that about football.”

More than 200 schools take part in the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission archery program, but Henson said many of the schools do not form teams for competitions, instead using the equipment in their physical education classes. The state offers an archery equipment package for schools that costs about $2,500. The funds for the program can come from a variety of sources, Gray said.

For more information about the archery program, contact the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission at (800) 364-4263 or go to: www.agfc.com/education/Pages/EducationProgramsANASP

Staff writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at (501) 244-4460 or wbryan@arkansasonline.com.

Tri-Lakes Edition Writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at 501-244-4460 or wbryan@arkansasonline.com.

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