Almost 250 students compete in program’s second state championship
HAYS — The second annual Kansas State Archery In the Schools (AIS) Championship meet was held at Fort Hays State University on March 12, and participation revealed that the program is growing dramatically in popularity. Six participating school districts (Anthony, Clearwater, Ell-Saline, Healy, Jackson Heights, and Rose Hill) entered 246 youngsters, including 47 high school, 123 middle school, and 76 elementary school students. This compares to 78 total participants in the inaugural event last year.
Started in Kentucky 12 years ago, Archery In the Schools came to Kansas in 2006. Gary Keehn, Holton, serves as coordinator of the state program. Keehn helps organize events, recruit instructors, set up ranges, and conduct certification workshops for instructors, many of whom are physical education teachers in elementary and secondary Kansas schools. Instructors are trained primarily through summer workshops.
Working under Mike Rader, KDWP wildlife education coordinator, Keehn helps schools and other organizations start programs and obtain equipment. With support from the archery industry, a $5,000 program equipment kit can be purchased by schools for about $3,000. Any teacher who completes a training session receives assistance towards the purchase of a kit from KDWP. Schools that host a basic instructor training workshop receive additional assistance. The Kansas program currently has about 150 schools involved.
Fort Hays State was the first university to establish a program, under the direction of Dr. Joyce Ellis, assistant professor in the school's Department of Health and Human Performance. For the second year in a row, Ellis has also been the driving force behind the state championship meet.
Because archery is not sanctioned by the Kansas State High School Activities Association, some schools restrict money used to establish programs or pay travel expenses for competitions. Schools with the program hold fund raisers with the help of supporters, students, local businesses, and community volunteers. Partial funding for equipment comes from KDWP and NASP. And this year, support came from Genesis Bows, Morrell Targets, Bass Pro Shops, the Kansas Bowhunters Association, and Cabela’s.
Using stock, unmodified Genesis bows (their own or ones provided by the tournament), students shot one practice round of five arrows and three scoring rounds of five arrows each from both 10 meters and 15 meters — a total of 30 scoring shots. Scoring rings on the target provided points from 10 to zero. Team scores were the total of the team's highest 12 individual scores, with at least five archers of each gender per team.
Each participant received a medal. The overall highest male and female scorers and the third place overall winner each received a new Genesis bow, two donated by NASP and the other donated by the Kansas Bowhunters Association. The fourth and fifth place winners received $50 gift certificates from Cabela’s. Plaques donated by KDWP were awarded to the top three teams in each division. The top two teams and the top three individuals are eligible to participate in the NASP National Championships in Kentucky.
The top scoring individual participants included the following, and each received a Genesis bow:
Top Male Overall — Jordan Serpan, 8th-grader from Clearwater Middle School Blue;
Top Female Overall — Micaela Keehn — 10th-grader from Jackson Heights High School; and
Next High Score (male or female) — Jon Varney, 12th-grader from Jackson Heights High School.
Jackson Heights High School dominated the individual high school competition, taking home all of the top three plaques in the high school division:
First Place — Micaela Keehn, 10th grade;
Second Place — Jon Varney, 12th grade; and
Third Place — Trent Henry, 11th grade.
Domination continued in the middle school individual competition, but this time Clearwater Middle School Blue nabbed the top three plaques:
First Place — Jordan Serpan, 8th grade;
Second Place — Luke Sipp, 7th grade; and
Third Place — Brandon William, 8th grade.
Individual elementary school plaques went to the following participants:
First Place — Lexi Cotham, 6th-grader from Clearwater Elementary Blue;
Second Place — Lillian Keehn, 5th-grader from Jackson Heights Elementary; and
Third Place — Parker Patterson, 6th-grader from Anthony Runners 5&6.
The top three teams in each division also won plaques:
First Place —Jackson Heights A-Team;
Second Place — Ellsworth-Saline; and
Third Place — Jackson Heights B-Team.
First Place — Clearwater Middle School Blue;
Second Place — Anthony Junior Runners 7&8; and
Third Place — Rose Hill Middle School A-Team.
First Place — Clearwater Elementary Blue;
Second Place — Anthony Runners 5&6;
Third Place — Clearwater Elementary White.
For more information on the Kansas Archery In the Schools program, phone Mike Rader at 620-672-5911.