Oklahoma student archers help break world record and bring home high ranks in competition

The popularity of archery among school-aged students continues to grow through the National Archery in Schools Program and even through books and movies that are popular among youth such as The Hunger Games, and The Avengers. So popular has the sport become among Oklahoma's youth that they even were part of the largest archery tournament ever recorded for the Guinness Book of World Records. The event was the National Archery in the Schools tournament held May 11-12 in Louisville, Ky. About 370 Oklahoma students were part of the crowd of 7,804 youth shooters from the across the nation.

Oklahoma shooters also did a lot of high scoring at the tournament, including three elementary girls who placed in the top five in the nation in their grade levels. Taking third place in the fourth-grade girls competition was Riane Tuthill of Chickasha. Birdie Maxwell of Parklane Elementary took fourth place in the fifth-grade girls division, and Faith Terrell of Chandler Elementary took fourth place among sixth-grade girls.

Other high scoring Oklahoma shooters included Clayton Grossnicklaus who took sixth place in the fourth-grade boys division, Hadlie Barnes of Greenville who took 10th place in the middle school girls division and Zachary Kretchmar of Holy Trinity Catholic School who took eighth place in the middle school boys division.

High scoring teams from Oklahoma included Chickasha Elementary and Middle School who took 12th and 16th place, respectively, in their divisions, and Stilwell High School who took 45th place in their division.

Schools representing Oklahoma at the national tournament included MacArthur middle and high schools; Beggs Middle School; Chickasha elementary, middle and high schools; Greenville Middle School; Inola High, Jay High, Jefferson Elementary; Parklane Elementary; Will Rogers Junior High; Wayland Bonds and Anderson, Chandler, Comanche, Holy Trinity Catholic, Keys, Keystone, Moss, Porum, Ringling, Sequoyah, Stilwell, Turner and Zaneis schools.

"Our Oklahoma shooters made me so proud," said Justin Marschall, Oklahoma National Archery in Schools coordinator for the Wildlife Department. "The pride and outstanding character that they demonstrated was overwhelming."

Students involved in the Oklahoma National Archery in Schools Program hone their concentration skills by shooting at targets from 10 and 15 meters, attempting to place their arrows into a three-inch-diameter bullseye for points. Students of all ages, sizes and athletic abilities can compete at the same level for high standings and personal success.

Oklahoma students qualified for the national competition based on their individual and team scores from the Oklahoma National Archery in the Schools State Shoot held in March at the Oklahoma State Fair Park in Oklahoma City. More than 1,100 students gathered at the site for the state shoot to wrap up a season of archery practice and competition at their respective schools and to determine qualifiers for the national tournament.

More than 300 schools are currently participating in the Oklahoma National Archery in the Schools Program, which is administered by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The program is part of a national organization that introduces students to the sport of archery. The Archery in the Schools curriculum is designed for 4th-12th graders and covers archery history, safety, techniques, equipment, mental concentration and self-improvement. Students of all athletic abilities can learn and excel.

A limited number of grants are available each fiscal year for schools interested in implementing the Oklahoma National Archery in the Schools Program. Teachers interested in learning more about the program or starting the program at their school should contact Marschall at (405) 522-1857 or jmarschall@odwc.state.ok.us.

For more information about the Wildlife Department, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.

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