COLUMBUS -- The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) will host its seventh annual Ohio National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) State Tournament on Friday, March 1 in Columbus. Sign-ups for the event opened on Thursday, Jan. 3 and more than 1,000 students were registered for the event in less than three hours.

NASP is a school curriculum currently taught in 620 Ohio schools, making Ohio the third largest NASP program in the United States.

Instruction takes place during physical education classes for a two-week period and is designed to teach international target archery skills to students in grades 4-12.

"ODNR hosts one of the largest archery tournaments in the world right here in Ohio," said ODNR Director James Zehringer. "The NASP program not only teaches students archery safety, but it has a lasting positive effect on their confidence, concentration and self-esteem. We hope archery can become a lifelong activity for many of our students."

During the 2011-2012 academic year, more than 40,000 Ohio students participated in NASP as part of their physical education curriculum. The Ohio NASP State Tournament has openings for 1,344 student archers statewide to compete in this competition, and the tournament is for schools that are certified and participate in the program.

The tournament is presented in conjunction with the 2013 Arnold Sports Festival and will be held at Veterans Memorial, North Hall, located at 300 West Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215.

Students with high-ranking scores may be eligible for scholarships available through Hocking College in Nelsonville.

Individual archers and teams may also qualify for the NASP National Championship, which will be held May 10-11 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky.

Last year, Ohio resident Tyler Finley, a ninth grader at Maysville High School, located in Zanesville, participated in the 2012 NASP National Championship and won overall male archer.

The Ohio NASP State Tournament will take place from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, March 1.

Schools interested in learning more about NASP may contact Matt Neumeier, shooting sports coordinator for the ODNR Division of Wildlife, at 614-265-6334 or at

For information, visit:

Ohio was the 10th state to participate in NASP.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife introduced NASP in 2004 with 12 pilot schools.

Statewide expansion of the program began in January 2005, and 2005-2006 was the program's first full academic year. Growth in NASP has continued across the state, and more than half of Ohio's 88 counties currently have at least one school participating in NASP.

Last year, more than 1,300 students participated in the 2012 Ohio NASP State Tournament.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all.

Visit the ODNR website at