Rural Missouri - April 2018 - 18
A bead on the Bullseye
Sarcoxie archers take aim at another championship season
Above: Sarcoxie Middle School archer Alyssa Willis takes careful aim at a target during practice.The middle school team took ﬁrst place at the Show-Me State
Games held Feb. 24 in Columbia.
by Zach Smith | email@example.com
Along with assistant coaches Doug
Wangler and Ginger Barnard, the Woolhere aren't many schools where fourth and ﬁfth graders are bullseye-ing seys help shooters with everything from perfecting the fundamentals of stance
antelope, bobcat, deer and bighorn sheep in the cafeteria after class. and grip to working through the mental block of target panic.
"Who's ready to play 'Last Man Standing?' " David asks, and laughs when
But then not many schools are quite like Sarcoxie. Here, 116 students,
roughly one in every ﬁve at the school in grades 4-12, take part in the opposing shouts of "Yes!" and "No!" erupt from the middle school team. One
Missouri National Archery in the Schools Program, or MoNASP. They are part by one, 14 archers let arrows ﬂy and are eliminated if they miss the bullseye.
of 180,000 young Missourians taking archery lessons as part of their in-school It takes six rounds before a winner can be declared, but the tensions of shots
missed earlier in the night are eased as each shooter hones in on their target.
Since Missouri adopted NASP in 2007, the number of schools participating Removing their arrows at the end of a round, the kids proudly point out high
has grown from 100 to 670 and two or three tournaments a year have turned marks to teammates or seek David's advice about adjusting their aim.
Many of Sarcoxie's top shots had no prior experience with hunting or target
into 140. Missouri Department of Conservation Education Outreach Coordinator Eric Edwards, state coordinator for MoNASP, says teachers and students shooting when they picked up a compound bow for the ﬁrst time. As they developed the skills necessary to shoot accurately the determination to improve their
alike give him the same reason for its growing popularity.
"It's so simplistic," Eric says. "We were looking for some heavy-gravity type of aim turned into a dedication to beat their own best scores.
"It's doing what it's intended to do, which from the conservation standpoint is
answer, but ﬁrst and foremost it's fun."
The sport also has become highly competitive and Sarcoxie has made a name to get kids involved in a lifetime shooting sport," Eric says of MoNASP. "The way
for its small-town school. Since implementing MoNASP in 2012, the Bears have the program is designed it's built for constant improvement. It instills so much
only fallen short of the state championship once, coming in second to Lee's conﬁdence in these kids."
Although many of the archers at Sarcoxie participate in other sports such
Summit West in 2016. Last year the middle and high school teams won the
school's fourth state title, the world championship in 3-D target shooting and as football, volleyball and basketball, students agree that shooting a bow accuset a world record when it won the national championships with a score of 3,465 rately is often as demanding as it is rewarding. When a tiniest amount of extra
muscle tension or scant millimeter of aim off the mark may mean missing the
out of 3,600 possible points.
"When I heard that we broke a world record that was an amazing feeling. I'd 10-ring, athletes quickly learn the value of self-control.
"Nothing is quite like archery," says senior Devon Nordell. "It's extremely
like to do it again," says freshman Dylan Heckmaster, barely containing a grin
mental. You have to stay focused, otherwise it shows."
when he adds, "and I think we could, too."
In addition to self assurance and physical ﬁtness, there's another beneﬁt
Besides the championship rings and the case of trophies in
to student archers - funding their future. Last year members of Sarcoxie's
the cafeteria, archery also has imparted the lifelong skill of selfmiddle and high school teams netted more than $218,000 in scholardiscipline and instilled the value of teamwork in Sarcoxie's stuships, providing them with a real shot at affording higher education.
dents. Kaycia Woolsey has coached the MoNASP team with her
"Knowing someone was out there one day, saw a couple scores and
husband, David, since its inception. She says the duo's goal is to
knew you were good enough to shoot for them - that really opens
create a practice environment that is both relaxed and structured
your eyes to what you can do after high school," says senior Micah
so students can enjoy the sport while at the same time appreciating
Edwards. "It's a dream come true where I can play a sport in colwhat it has to teach them about themselves.
lege and get a higher education."
"It teaches you that you have to get yourself right and perform
None of the team's top shooters will put themselves out on a
well if you're going to be of use to the team, but once you do you're
limb to predict their own success this year - they all have had
part of something greater than yourself," Kaycia says. "It makes
enough good and bad rounds to know they won't always beat a perthem care about coming to practice and the way they practice."
"Practice makes perfect" is a maxim well known to the Woolseys. The Ozark sonal record - but each has every conﬁdence in the team's chance at another
Electric Cooperative members - both former competitive archers who met, got successful season.
"We feel like we've got a pretty good team, but we have a lot of work to do and
engaged and were later married on an archery course - work from after school
until well past 9 p.m. so each archer gets enough time on the targets. David have to stay on our toes because there is a lot of tough competition out there,
took over as head coach this year with Kaycia, a special education teacher at too," Kaycia says. "Missouri is bringing it, and I'm glad they are. That raises the
standard for everyone."
Sarcoxie, assisting the team as a volunteer.
"We're not shooting shotguns, guys. I'm seeing some patterns out there like
For more information on the MoNASP Program, call Eric Edwards at 573-522this," David says during practice, spreading his arms to emphasize the point.
4115 ext. 3295 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Make sure you're meeting your goals - and don't forget to have fun."
RURAL MISSOURI | APRIL 2018