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CVA archery competition fosters lifelong sport

Photo of girl shooting bow and arrow.

Rachael Thorp demonstrates proper archery technique learn in CVA P class.

When we think of high school sports, we tend to think of interscholastic sports such as football or volleyball. Although those sports are an important part of a well-rounded high school experience (more than half of CVA students play at least one interscholastic sport), few will go on to play in college and even fewer will play after college.

The focus of physical education has broadened to include sports that people can enjoy as a lifelong activity. So, CVA physical education classes now include a three-week unit on archery—that’s right, archery.

Thanks to a grant from the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP), the former Ilion Central School was able to purchase $3,000 worth of archery equipment for just $500. CVA students now have a full array of Genesis 20-pound compound bows, aluminum target arrows, targets and safety nets allowing PE classes to practice in the gymnasium.

Bows and arrows can be dangerous, so the first lessons begin with safety.

“Everything is very regimented. We follow a program that teachers 11 steps to shooting success. Students do everything on whistle commands, so it is very safe,” said PE teacher Jane Connors.

She and her three fellow PE teachers Jonna Costin, Brian Lasowski and Trevor Noonan then move on to teach parts of the bow, parts of the arrows, nocking the arrow, the draw, proper aim and release.

Group photo of tournament competitors.

Archery tournament competitors each earned a shirt for participating. (Front Row l to r) Stephanie Temple, Kaitlyn Couchman, Brandy Torres, Rachael Thorp, Ben Matthews and Johna Cusworth. (Back row l to r) Nicole Walis, Samantha Hyde, Amanda Dahl, Sarah Ford, Linnea McDonald, Betty Lyman, Allison Ford and Chase Steenburg

Near the end of the unit, all four teachers held an after school NASP tournament that drew 23 CVA participants. Students competed, not just against each other, but against 607 students across New York in grades 4-12. Rachael Thorp won for CVA girls and placed 103rd in the state. Mitch Werenczak won for CVA boys and placed 65th in the state.