It certainly has for one Richmond County youth.
Tyson Pruitte, 14, of Hamlet, is preparing for a national archery tournament in Sacramento, Calif. next week. The tournament will determine the U.S. team for the upcoming Jr. Olympic Championships in Poland.
Pruitte has been involved with archery since age 5. It’s a family business: His parents, Kim and Johnny Pruitte, teach archery in the area and have done so for many years.
Tyson Pruitte, who will attend Richmond Early College High School this fall, said he has been practicing 2-3 hours a day in advance of the upcoming nationals. That, he added, will ramp up to five-plus hours per day this week and next.
Making the Jr. Olympic team has been a goal of Pruitte’s since age 11. And now that it’s within his grasp, he plans to give it all he’s got.
At the national meet, Pruitte will have to be one of the top three archers in his class - the 14-18 age group - in order to claim a spot on the Jr. Olympic squad. As of midweek, there were 22 entries in the class.
Competition archery is based on points awarded for arrows depending on how close to the target they end up. Pruitte said the competition will be set up as a match-play type of tournament, with participants seeded based on how they perform in an initial shoot of 144 arrows.
The world record for a 72-arrow session is 689. Pruitte said he consistently shoots in the 690-693 range, so he feels pretty good about his chances.
“I need to focus, not think too much about it, and just do what I do,” Pruitte said. “I’ve got the skills, so I just have to put them to use.”
Pruitte is keeping his eyes on the prize of that Jr. Olympic team spot. But at the same time, he realizes he will be competing against a group of archers - some older than him - who are also good at the sport.
Pruitte said it wouldn’t be the end of the world if he doesn’t make the team this time out.
“If that happens, I’ll just learn from the experience and try again next year,” Pruitte said.
There will also be another opportunity in a few months: An indoor team will be assembled for a similar event in January.
Kim Pruitte said the family is grateful to several area businesses who have helped out with the upcoming trip to the national tournament. They include:
* Murphy’s Electric;
* Rockingham Hardware;
* Monroe’s Small Engine;
* Witherspoon Heating and Air;
* Covington’s Body Shop;
* Barefoot Archery of Charlotte;
* Sarah’s Saloon;
* Travis and Kellie Bowman.
Contact sports editor David Vantress at 997-3111, ext. 14 or by email at email@example.com.