Because of the coronavirus pandemic and severe winter weather, the deadline for virtual results for Arkansas National Archery in the Schools Program tournaments has been extended until Feb. 24.
The state tournament will be staged virtually on March 2-5. Scores will be compiled to determine the best archery teams and shooters in the state in elementary, middle school and high school levels.
"We're trying to make the best we can out of a bad situation," said Curtis Gray, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's ANASP coordinator.
The top two scoring teams from each of the state's 12 regions will advance to the finals along with the top 12 scores from teams that did not finish first or second in their region. This will establish 36 teams competing in state finals in each of the three divisions. Each team records its score in front of a coach or school administrator.
Scores are emailed or faxed to Gray, and they are also being entered into ANASP software for virtual shooting. That site is linked at www.agfc.com/ANASP. All scores from the regionals will be available to view on Feb. 25.
"There's no way with covid-19 we could do an in-person regional with all the teams and spectators," Gray said. "The regionals would have about 2,000-3,000 in attendance at each of 12 locations. And at Hot Springs, we would have several thousand kids and up to 8,000-10,000 spectators."
The 2020 ANASP state tournament finished just before the pandemic took hold. Covid-19 protocols that went into effect last spring canceled of the annual Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program tournaments in May and early June, and other events such as the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation's Commissioners' Cup high school fishing event were held virtually, as well.
Gray said that there has been little opportunity for in-person archery training since the fall semester began.
"We typically have 57,000 students participate in ANASP, and 6,000 kids is usually what we have competing in the tournaments, Gray said. "Our numbers this year, we have 3,000 students competing, so we're about half. I think that's pretty good considering everything, like virtual school versus in-person instruction."