By: Matt Stewart, Georgia DNR Hunting & Shooting Education Specialist
Georgia’s National Archery in the Schools Program has produced its first college scholarship recipient and future NCAA shooter.
Andrew Agrinzones, a graduate of Charlton County High School in Folkston, accepted a scholarship offer to shoot for the archery team at Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, 20 minutes northeast of Athens, this fall. Emmanuel College is a member of NCAA Division II and one of only a handful of colleges nationwide that offers scholarship funding in archery.
Agrinzones, an avid bowhunter and lifetime hunting/fishing license holder, joined the Charlton County High archery team his senior year and helped the squad reach the 2014 Georgia-National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) state tournament in Perry, which hosted more than 900 archers.
There he met Emmanuel College head men’s and women’s archery coach Rodney Estrada, a Level IV National Training System archery coach who was onsite scouting for potential archers. Estrada videotaped junior and senior archers that day and Agrinzones stood out.
“He really liked my form,” Agrinzones said. “He said I had trainable form.”
Estrada, who also trains and coaches archers at Georgia Tech, is a proponent of NASP and has seen his archery team’s roster grow from five shooters to 23 in just one year.
“I scout for talent and look for fundamentals of the shot process and the NASP provides me a good basis for fundaments,” Estrada said. “I can take those fundamentals and polish them.”
The NASP in-school archery curriculum is generally taught in physical education and agriculture classes in 4th-12th grade and more than 1,500 students competed in regional competitions held by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division in 2014. More than 20,000 students participated in the program throughout the year. The bow used in the program is a Mathews Genesis base model without sights or releases.
“(The NASP bow) is a really good bow to learn to shoot with (just) fingers,” Agrinzones said.
Agrinzones will arrive at Emmanuel College, which also has a co-ed sporting clay shotgun team, in August for the start of classes and the beginning of archery practice. Emmanuel College recently had one of its archers, Dusty Clark, named to the 2014 United States Archery Team (USAT) Junior Compound Men’s Team. Even if Agrinzones never gets that far, he said he’ll enjoy shooting a bow for many years to come.
“I always want to go hunting,” he said.
Estrada continues to recruit not just in Georgia, but all over the country and beyond. He’s bringing in one of the top recurve shooters from New Zealand this year and the No. 1-ranked shooter from Texas in his division. He’ll also continue to monitor the NASP competitions in Georgia for future talent.
“There is an open opportunity for any junior or senior NASP shooter,” Estrada said. “I believe in NASP.”
For more information on Emmanuel College’s shooting sports teams, visit www.goeclions.com. To learn more about the National Archery in the Schools Program in Georgia, go to www.gohuntgeorgia.com/shooting-sports.