Oxford Central right on target
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
BY FRED J. AUN
For the Star-Ledger
Rachel Zorsky ever decides to take up bowhunting and proceeds to
out-hunt some United Bowhunters of New Jersey members, they shouldn't
The UBNJ played a part in making 12-year-old Zorsky the
archer she's become, having been a big supporter, and contributor to,
the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP).
How good is Zorsky?
this: There were almost 2,000 students competing Saturday in the 2007
NASP National Tournament in Lexington, Ky. Zorsky, a sixth-grader from
Oxford Central School in Warren County, scored 280 points out of a
That made her the top-shooting elementary school
female at the tournament. Number One in a field overwhelmingly
populated with kids from Kentucky and other states where bowhunting is
much more commonplace than it is in New Jersey.
shooter," said Paul Ritter, hunter education administrator for the
state Division of Fish and Wildlife. "She really worked in practices."
of her coaches at Oxford Central, phys-ed teacher Rob Causton, said
Zorsky was coming in an hour before school to practice and staying an
hour afterward to do the same.
Zorsky wasn't alone in making New
Jersey proud at the NASP tournament. Another Oxford student,
eighth-grader Kaitlyn Ischinger, took third-place in the female middle
school competition, scoring a respectable 275. The Oxford Central team
came in 15th out of 51 middle schools.
"I'm thoroughly impressed
with that," said Causton, noting New Jersey has offered NASP in schools
for only two years. "They shot over 200 points better at the national
tournament than they did at the state tournament."
obvious to anyone who knows the political climate in New Jersey, Ritter
and Causton do not use bowhunting as part of their pitches when they
talk to other schools about participating in the NASP. However, the
UBNJ, the National Wild Turkey Federation and other pro-hunting
organizations support the program.
Studies have shown that
archery programs in schools have a way of instilling interest in
bowhunting among some students. Those that eventually give hunting a
try have an advantage over many bowhunting novices.
them how to focus on a specific target, which is so important," said
Causton, who bowhunts. "They can block everything else out."
said Zorsky, whose father is a bowhunter, has yet to try shooting game.
However, "she's more interested in bowhunting now than she was before,"
said her teacher. "She got a Genesis Pro bow for winning at the
national level and she's excited to try shooting that."
said promoting archery helps wildlife and sportsmen because
Pittman-Robertson Act federal excise taxes from the sale of archery
equipment is channeled to state fish and wildlife agencies. "I run my
hunter education program 100 percent using federal funds," he noted.
Ritter said there are 14 schools in New Jersey participating in the NASP program.