Lee’s Summit archers advance to national MoNASP tourney

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- Two student archers from Lee’s Summit posted outstanding scores at a state archery tournament on Saturday, March 23, which will advance them to a national archery competition.

Shelby Winslow of Summit Lakes Middle School in Lee’s Summit took top honors among all female archers at the Missouri National Archery in the Schools (MoNASP) state tournament in Warrensburg. Winslow scored 287 out of a possible 300.

“She has worked so hard above and beyond to do this,” said Steve Lanier, who coaches the archery team from Longview Farm Elementary School and assists with the Summit Lakes team. “Shelby probably shot every day for the past two weeks to get ready. Shooting in a tournament is a lot different than shooting with your friends at a practice range. You have to learn to control your nerves and the stress.”

McKenna Rice of Longview Farm Elementary School in Lee’s Summit scored 268 out of 300 to place third among females in the elementary division. Both Winslow and Rice qualified for the National Archery in Schools Program (NASP) national tournament in Louisville, Kentucky, on May 10-11.

Getting a good score and having fun drew 1,438 student archers on March 22-23 to the fifth annual MoNASP state tournament. The tournament is divided into divisions for elementary schools, middle schools and high schools. Those three divisions are then divided between female and male shooters. All competitors use the same style bows and arrows. Basic archery skills alone determine scores, not equipment.

Both Winslow and Rice have practiced hard in their school’s MoNASP programs and also shoot in a youth league at a local archery club.

“Learning archery was difficult at first,” Rice said. “But once you get the feel of it, you really start to enjoy it.”

At MoNASP, Rice ignored the sound of arrows thudding into targets and a crowd murmur from several thousand onlookers in the University of Central Missouri gym. Then she drew an arrow back in her bow and focused only on a smooth release and a straight path. The arrow hit with a “thwack” in center target.

“You have to focus,” Rice said before her round on the firing line. “Focusing is the main thing.”

MoNASP is coordinated through the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the Conservation Federation of Missouri in partnership with participating Missouri schools. Information on the program is available at mdc.mo.gov.

The skills displayed by the young archers competing Saturday were impressive, said Phil Brinkley, a naturalist and archery instructor at the MDC Burr Oak Woods Nature Center in Blue Springs.

“You watch these kids and wonder, am I seeing a future Olympian,” Brinkley said.

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