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Students take aim at state archery tournament

Students take aim at state archery tournament
Students take aim at state archery tournament
Posted at 9:18 AM, Mar 20, 2024

HELENA — Archers from across Montana traveled to Helena this week for the National Archery in the Schools State Tournament.

In Montana, the National Archery in the Schools program is overseen by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks education specialist Ryan Schmaltz.

Schmaltz says the program is growing quickly and has expanded from just a few schools to many.

"Last year we had over 10,000 students participate and there is well over 150 schools," says Schmaltz.



The program is available for students in grades 4 through 12. In some schools, the program is educational and part of physical education. However, in others, there is enough interest to form a competitive team.

Rod Benson has been coaching the Hays-Lodgepole team for three years.

He tells MTN that he brought a team to the state championship last year and that there are considerably more competitors in 2024.

Rod Benson has been coaching the Hays-Lodgepole team for three years.
Rod Benson has been coaching the Hays-Lodgepole team for three years

"About three times bigger this year. It will probably be bigger next year," says Benson.

The tournament includes both 3D and standard archery targets. Students can compete as individuals or as a team. There are divisions for elementary, middle and high school students.

The top shooters win a bow and a trophy, and can qualify for the Archery in the Schools Western National Tournament in April.

Both Benson and Schmaltz say archery can be a great way for someone not drawn to traditional sports to participate in a team activity.

Students take aim at state archery tournament

"It's just a fun way to be part of a team and be involved in your school and represent your school," says Benson.

"It's fun to see kids that are not really into organized sports like basketball and football to pick up something that they can do for the rest of their life and really enjoy," adds Schmaltz.

Team winners of the state tournament were:

3D Challenge Team Awards

  • Elementary school – Arlee
  • Middle school – Trout Creek
  • High school – Paris Gibson Education Center, Great Falls

Bullseye Team Awards

  • No Elementary school winner
  • Middle school – Trout Creek
  • High school – Paris Gibson Education Center, Great Falls

To learn more about the National Archery in the Schools program and see results from the Montana State Archery Tournament visit naspschools.org.


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Students take aim at state archery tournament