HOT SPRINGS (AGFC) – Young archers from across Arkansas will line up to compete at the 2016 Arkansas National Archery in the Schools State Championship April 1 and 2 at Bank of the Ozarks Arena in Hot Springs.
Teams had to qualify for the state championship tournament through one of 10 regional tournaments held throughout the state Feb. 27. The top three teams from each division were given invitations to the championship, and each school hosting a regional tournament also was given one at-large bid to complete the 100-team field.
Curtis Gray, ANASP coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, says he's excited about the way the program continues to evolve.
"When we first started, we could have one large state championship shoot for any team that wanted to compete," Gray said. "But now we have developed a legitimate path for successful teams to ramp up the competition."
Gray says 178 schools competed in regional competitions this year, and that nearly 500 Arkansas schools incorporate the archery program in some fashion with their students.
"I was given the opportunity to learn how to shoot a bow at a very young age and it's helped form my life," Gray said. "I want every kid in Arkansas to have that same sort of opportunity to see if it's something they might be interested in."
This year's scores will be available soon after the first round of shooting thanks to a new online checking program developed by the AGFC's Information Technology Division. Parents and friends of students shooting will be able to look up the scores by visitinghttps://webapps.agfc.com/anasp/ throughout the day.
"We were happily surprised to see the interest in the regional scores," said Tony Davis, software manager for the AGFC. "We had so many people jump on that the servers slowed to a crawl, but we'll be ready to handle the load for this weekend's championship."
Elementary and middle school registration begins at 8 a.m., Friday, and competition begins at 9 a.m. High school registration begins at 8:30 a.m., Saturday, and competition begins at 9:30 a.m.