National archery competition draws thousands - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

National archery competition draws thousands

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BELKNAP, Ill. -- Thousands gathered at the Mermet Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area in Massac County for the sixth annual Scholastic 3-D Archery National Championship.

More than 900 students participated in the tournament, including Tessa Wirtz from Wisconsin. 

"I like meeting all the new people, everyone is so nice here and caring and willing to help everyone so that's really cool," Wirtz said.

Jenny Richardson, who serves as the Executive Director of the Scholastic 3D Archery program, said 27 different states were represented.

"This is our national event so there's a lot of excitement," Richardson said. "We have some kids that's been involved in our program for six years but then we have some kids that have been involved for the last 3-4 weeks."

Richardson explains how archery is centered around a few components. 

"Basically discipline, focus, concentration," Richardson said, adding she's seen archery help some students perform better in school.

College coaches were also at the tournament scouting and recruiting.

"We're able to get those kids and have a chance to further their education and also continue shooting archery at the collegiate level and getting scholarships for them," said Kris Strebeck, University of the Cumberlands Archery Head Coach.

Organizers described how the tournament also impacts the local economy by bringing visitors to town and local vendors to the event.

"Motel rooms, restaurants, gas for them to get home, and yes we spend a lot of money when we're in these venues," Richardson said.

Richardson said the event wouldn't be possible without volunteers and support from people like Mike Tyrell, who serves as the president of the Archery Shooters Association and an S3DA board member.

"When we started looking at the opportunity to host a national tournament for their organization, this facility, because the great support we get from the local DNR and the city, is a perfect opportunity to marry what their needs were with the opportunity that we have here to provide it to them," Tyrell said.

Organizers and participants alike look forward to the new friendships created each year.

"The comradery of all the people and how everyone is wiling to help each other in an event like this is incredible," said Steve Wirtz, father and coach of Tessa.

Organizers told News 3 some students even walked way with thousands of dollars in scholarships.

If you missed the action this weekend, you can watch pros from all around the world come out next week for the Mathews Illinois PRO/AM. Organizers tell us it will be open to public and spectator friendly.

To see the list of winners from the tournament, visit the Scholastic 3-D Archery Facebook page.

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