The real competitor is the one who gives all he has, all the time. In every passionate pursuit, the pursuit counts more than the object pursued.Bruce Lee
My name is Brennan Stephens, and I am in the 12th grade in Kentucky, and I have shot archery for eight years. I began shooting archery the year my school started the NASP®️ program, when I was in the fifth grade. I shot a 193 out of 300 at my first tournament and placed 34th out of 67 elementary males at the tournament that year. I was only able to participate in one other tournament that year, being regionals. At the regional tournament, I shot a 205, placing 28th.
Beginning with my sixth grade year I began to practice more on my own but not regularly, seeing some improvements that year. My high score was a 265 that year. This was not where I wanted to be but it was movement in the right direction.
My seventh-grade year was when archery changed from merely another sport to a passion that I gave it my all. I qualified for state that year, and along with three other archers from my school. We became the first archers to go to state from our team. At state, I shot my first 280, which was a very important milestone. It seems that a lot of archers plateau in the 270’s due to archery getting progressively more difficult. Most importantly, this gave me momentum.
My eighth-grade season was when I really put my effort into high gear. I had a clear goal; I wanted to win. I began to shoot an average of 50 arrows in my basement for about five days a week. I placed first in eight tournaments that year and I even won top overall male in several of these tournaments as a middle schooler.
Rose Hill had a great archery team that year that was able to go all the way to nationals, and I qualified for the Championship that year. At the Championship in Nashville, Tennessee I placed fifth out of the middle school boys, scoring a 292. Accepting that award, on such a large stage, was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had.
At the virtual National tournament in tenth grade, I shot my high of 295, qualifying for the Championship in Myrtle Beach where I shot a 294 and placed 7th in the nation.
Last year, as a junior, I had a very successful regular season. I won every tournament in my region and travelled to other parts of the state to shoot. The greatest part of last year was leading my team to winning the KHSAA( Kentucky High School Athletic Assosiation) regional tournament. I go to a small school and my team had the exact number of archers required and only had one senior. We beat all the public schools in this. My post season was uneventful due to an equipment malfunction at state which was a major disappointment. This year I am currently 3 for 3.
My goal this year is simple: I want to beat myself. Archery is nothing more than me vs me. This is what pushes me.
-Brennan Stephens is a 2023 student contributor.-