HAMLET — Ty Pruitte did everything he needed to do to be included on the U.S. team for this month’s World Archery Youth Championships in Wuxi, China.
Except one thing.
Have a passport.
After earning his spot on the squad following his performance in June’s SoCal Showdown and the team tryouts in Chula Vista, Calif., Pruitte and his parents were forced to scramble and get the paperwork submitted for his passport once returning to Hamlet.
“I think we got back Monday and we applied that Tuesday,” Pruitte said. “We were cutting it pretty close.”
It wasn’t the only time Pruitte was thinking about getting a passport. Two years earlier, Pruitte missed his chance of making the team and competing in the championships in Poland by 1 1/2 points.
He wasn’t going to let this opportunity get away. Although it nearly slipped through his fingers as Pruitte dropped his first contest during the tryouts as the No. 1 seed.
“I was nervous,” he said. “I had to calm myself down.”
Pruitte stormed back to win his final seven matchups and became one of three archers selected to the compound cadet men’s team, along with Chris Bee from Michigan and Texas’ Justin Dixon.
“We know each other,” Pruitte said. “We have shot with each other at a couple of tournaments. They travel to a lot more tournaments than I do. They’re at shoots like every weekend.”
Even though he doesn’t compete as often as his national squad teammates, it was not surprising Pruitte finally broke through and earned a spot on the national team because of his practice schedule, especially when not in school.
“Back in the summer I was shooting all day, literally,” Pruitte said. “Once schools started, I’m not shooting as much. I practice until I get tired, but I’m still practicing everyday.”
He has realistic expectations for the competition which runs from Oct. 13 to 20.
“I would be happy to qualify in the top 10,” Pruitte said. “But I would love to win gold.”
Before he competes against the world, he needs to make the trek to China and venture outside of the country for the first time. His father, Johnny, will be joining him to make the excursion to Wuxi.
“I’m a little nervous,” Pruitte said about the trip. “I think it’s the Chinese version of the Olympic Training Center (in Colorado Springs).”
Pruitte added he will fly out of Charlotte Thursday and will make stops in Atlanta and Seattle before finally touching down in Shanghai, then make a two-hour drive to Wuxi.
“It’s going to be something like a 19-hour flight once you add the flights,” Pruitte said. “They are exactly a half-a-day ahead of us. I’m hoping to get some sleep on the planes.”
Pruitte said despite being away from Richmond County, he will be forced to enjoy some comforts of home.
“There is a McDonald’s and a Burger King there,” he said. “Everyone said we will have to eat there because of food. It’s real Chinese food, not like we have here.”
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.