Area school districts participated in the Academy Outdoors Shootout on March 4 at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center – an event coordinated by a School of Education graduate.

This year’s archery tournament was sponsored by the MSSU Department of Kinesiology, Academy Outdoors and American Whitetail. School systems at Carl Junction, Carthage, Joplin and Sarcoxie (The SW Missouri Archery Alliance) were co-hosts.

Elementary, middle- and high-school divisions were included, as well as individual competitions. Chelsi Leggett, a Carl Junction High School physical education teacher and archery coach, received her bachelor’s in secondary education from Missouri Southern. She says Carl Junction is in its fifth year of competition in archery.

Leggett says local archery efforts are an outgrowth of the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP).

“It’s not like any other sport. It’s limitless,” she says. “Any student can find success in the program. That doesn’t necessarily mean a medal but it means they can see huge improvements of their starting point and ending point in one season based on their score.”

Leggett was an athlete while attending school in Carl Junction where she participated in volleyball, basketball and track. She also hunted and fished with her father.

“It wasn’t until I applied for the job at Carl Junction that I got serious about starting outdoor sports at Carl Junction,” she states. “When given the go-ahead to get certified as an Archery instructor and bring NASP to our school, I jumped on it and there’s been no turning back.”

The Carl Junction team recently began practicing at a closed grocery store in Carl Junction. Every September the team holds an annual fundraiser with a chili feed, aerial archery, a dunk tank, Archery Tag and other events to cover utilities at the building and meet other expenses.