Olympic fever may be over for most folks, but the solid “thwack” of arrow into target is all Callyan Lacio of Hillsboro needs to inspire her dream to be an Olympic archery competitor at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“It’s just a lot of fun,” Lacio, age 12, said. “You really have to concentrate, focus, and follow some simple rules, and then the challenge is to get better and better.”
Lacio first tried archery at school last year as a 6th grader at Hillsboro Elementary.
“We got to do it as part of a field trip we took,” she said. “I also tried archery at 4-H camp and thought it was fun.”
It was not until Lacio’s uncle, Joe Shreve of Hayesville, asked her if she wanted to learn something new along with him, that Lacio really became intrigued by archery.
“My uncle bought me this Diamond compound bow,” she said. “Then we got all the other accessories, like the arrows, the target, the bag, and stuff.”
For two months now, Lacio and her uncle have been getting together on weekends to shoot and perfect their skills.
“You start out by making sure your feet are positioned right, then you nock the arrow to the side,” she said. “You put your right elbow up, as high as your head, and you hold your left arm out straight, but not too straight or you’ll clip your check with the string.”
Lacio then takes several deep breaths to help solidify her focus and positioning, and releases her little finger, exhaling as she lets the arrow sail toward the target.
“I’m getting pretty good,” she said. “To qualify to compete in a tournament you have to get at least 140 points out of 200, and I am getting more than that pretty easy.”
In addition to setting her sights on a trip to Rio in 2016 for the first-ever inclusion of compound bow shooting in a world competition, Lacio hopes archery could lead her to possible college scholarships.
“I want to study to be a veterinarian,” she said. “That is going to take a lot of schooling and money, so maybe I can get on an archery team somewhere and help pay for my school that way.”
Lacio plans to get more shooting experience through her 4-H projects and looks forward to taking shooting sports this coming fall.
“The club I am going to be in has an archery group and we are going to have a 3D shoot by Hillsboro after it cools off some,” she said.
The 3D shoot would include three dimensional targets of deer, dinosaurs, and other creatures, with specific kill zones to hit, instead of just aiming for a bulls-eye on a target.
“I actually think hunting with my bow might be kind of fun, too,” she said. “My uncle has been talking to me about that. We might go deer and turkey hunting this fall.”
Lacio said YouTube videos were helpful when she and her uncle started learning archery, now she builds on what she learns while practicing.
“You just go through the steps and really concentrate,” she said. “Pretty soon you figure out what works and go with that.”
Lacio will be 16 when the Olympics include compound bow shooting as an event.
“Why not dream,” she said. “That would be so much fun.”