Mobile County has been well represented in the world of student archers. Just last year, Mia Cornelson of Dixon Elementary in Irvington was named the best female competitor in the elementary school division at the National Archery in the Schools (NASP) Eastern National Tournament.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused the cancellation of this year’s competition. However, that does not mean the Alabama Gulf Coast has been forgotten.
NASP has named Alexa Namphy, an eighth-grade student at Clark-Shaw Magnet School in Mobile, as one of the top 10 Academic Archers in the United States. For this honor, she received a Genesis bow and special Academic Archer arrows from Easton Archery.
Namphy, who is currently learning remotely because of the pandemic, told the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) she was excited to receive the honor.
“It is great to be chosen as an Academic Archer,” said Namphy, whose favorite subject is language arts. She plans to study music and art in college. “I think that this is a great way to end eighth grade.”
According to NASP, the Academic Archer program recognizes students who maintain high academic achievement while enjoying the sport of archery. Student archers are nominated by their coaches to be included in the program. Since the program began in 2015, Alabama has consistently ranked in the top five participating states.
Keith Mattern, a seventh-grade advanced math instructor and archery coach at Clark-Shaw, said Namphy is very deserving of the honor.
“Only 10 students are selected in the U.S. each year, and Alexa was the only student chosen from Alabama,” he said. “I was excited to hear that she was selected for the award.”
Namphy has been a member of the Clark-Shaw archery team for three years and was in Mattern’s advanced math class last year.
“She is the kind of student who always does her best, always seems to have a positive attitude and is always a good classmate to her peers,” he said.
Learning of the honor was welcome information to Namphy’s mother, Heidi Hall.
“I was very excited to find out she was selected,” Hall said. “One day after school, Alexa told me that she won a spot to go to the state tournament this school year. But after COVID-19, the tournament was cancelled. It was refreshing to have some good news.”
Hall said she recommends archery to other parents.
“Archery is an exciting sport,” Hall said. “It challenges students to concentrate and focus. Since being involved with archery, Alexa’s confidence and ability to focus on tasks has increased. She has also been able to socialize with other students at her school and students from other schools during tournaments.”
In Alabama, NASP is a joint venture between ADCNR’s Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division (WFF) and the Alabama Department of Education.
“NASP is first and foremost an educational program,” said Michael Bloxom, WFF’s regional hunter education coordinator. “The shooting merely serves to teach and enhance the life and educational lessons learned in school. While not everyone will win a trophy or an award during a tournament, being an Academic Archer is something every NASP participant can strive to become.”
Since the Academic Archer program began, Bloxom said WFF has made promoting it a priority. From educating teachers and coaches about how to register their students to maintaining a current database of participating schools, WFF and Alabama’s educators have partnered to increase student participation in archery with a focus on education.
“We have promoted it from the beginning to our teachers as a way to reinforce educational achievements while using archery as a positive tool in that goal,” Bloxom said. “Alexa being chosen as one of the top Academic Archers in the U.S. was a nice surprise and a well-deserved honor for one of our Alabama students. Hopefully this recognition will help grow the program and increase our ability to recognize even more NASP students in the state.”
Academic Archer will open for nominations from teachers on Sept. 1 for the 2020-21 school year. For more information on beginning the Academic Archer program, visit naspschools.org/opportunities/academic-archer.
To learn more about Alabama’s NASP, visit outdooralabama.com/programs/alabama-archery-schools.
Before the spring season came to an abrupt end, the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) recognized several Spring Hill College (SHC) athletes.
First was Morgan Kramer as its Softball Pitcher of the Week. The sophomore allowed just four hits and a walk with no strikeouts in 3.1 innings of relief pitching as SHC rallied to win a 5-4 walk-off decision over the University of Montevallo.
Sophomore Olivia Brown was the next Softball Pitcher of the Week. She held Mississippi College to one run off of five hits and no walks while striking out three batters in a 2-1 Badgers victory.
For baseball, the SIAC named freshman Frankie Timphony and senior AJ Fell as its Player and Pitcher of the Week, respectively. Timphony was 9-of-18 in five games as the Badgers went 5-0. He scored seven runs with three doubles, a home run and six runs batted in while making seven putouts and 10 assists in the field. Fell threw a complete game, nine-inning shutout of the University of Missouri–St. Louis in a 3-0 Badgers victory. He allowed just two hits and no walks with six strikeouts.
Fell was not finished, as he earned Pitcher of the Week for a second time. He threw a complete game, nine-inning shutout of the University of West Alabama (UWA) in a 2-0 Badgers victory. He allowed just two hits and held UWA without a hit for 6.2 innings, issuing just one walk with nine strikeouts.
The final honor went to right-hander Hannah Brenton as its Softball Pitcher of the Week. The junior out of Mobile Christian School had three complete-game wins. She won 10-2 over Christian Brothers and took 3-0 and 3-1 wins over Lane College. For the week, she allowed 12 hits with two walks and 23 strikeouts.
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