CHAMPAIGN – About 900 young archers from 42 Illinois schools have qualified to participate in the 2023 Illinois State Archery Tournament March 24-25 at Champaign Centennial High School.
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The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is the partner/coordinator of the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) in Illinois, including the state tournament. Traditionally, the event has taken place in Springfield, but because of rapid growth of youth archery the past few years, organizers decided to move the 2023 tournament to Champaign to accommodate space and amenity needs.
“IDNR is proud to be among the first 10 states that registered to participate in the National Archery in the Schools Program. We recognized early on that archery offers a special opportunity to reach young people, build their confidence, and encourage them to get outdoors and have fun,” said IDNR Director Natalie Phelps Finnie.
The tournament begins at 5 p.m. Friday and resumes at 9 a.m. Saturday. The competition concludes at 6 p.m. Saturday, followed by an awards ceremony. Students compete at three levels for the state tournament – elementary school, middle school, and high school. IDNR representatives, school administrators, and local celebrities will be in attendance throughout the day.
The public is invited to watch some of the most talented archers in the country compete. Several Illinois high school and middle school teams are ranked in the top 20 nationally. General admission is $4 per adult; children 8 and under are free. A full concession stand will be available at Centennial for the duration of the tournament. Displays and interactive activities also will be available.
Champaign Centennial High School will offer an IBO/3D tournament event on Saturday at Jefferson Middle School next to the high school for teams that would like to experience shooting 3D targets prior to the State IBO/3D Tournament on April 8 in Cuba, Illinois. There is no qualifying requirement for the local 3D tournament or the state 3D tournament this year because it’s a newer format for archery teams in Illinois.
Both gymnasiums in the newly renovated Centennial High School will run tournament action simultaneously, and a shuttle bus will be available to Jefferson Middle School to watch the 3D shooting.
Archery appeals to a range of young people, and it offers an opportunity for students with certain disabilities to participate in a team sport. Research shows that students who participate in NASP-sponsored archery programs tend to perform better in school, have a higher self-esteem, and experience a higher rate of school attendance. Although the sport focuses on discipline and safety, archers have fun and build strong friendships with their teammates. More information about the Illinois program can be found at https://illinoisnasp.org, and information about the national program can be found online at https://naspschools.org.
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