Aiming Big

Sophomore competes internationally in archery

Aiming+Big

Isabella Vaz, Staff Writer

It hasn’t been long since sophomore Michael Walls first picked up a bow but ever since, he’s been hooked.

“[I discovered archery] about five or six years ago,” Walls said. “My dad had always shot bow hunting, so I started to shoot bow hunting too and then I moved into competitions.”

Archery has now become a significant part of Walls’ life. The sport has given him opportunities to do things he never could have imagined.

“[Through archery,] I’ve gotten to see a whole lot of places I probably wouldn’t have gotten to see,” Walls said. “I’ve been to West Virginia, and this fall I may even go to Paris.”

Becoming a skilled archer requires meticulous accuracy and consistency, which only comes with repetition. Walls achieves this by devoting a lot of time to the sport.

“[My] competition schedule really just depends,” Walls said. “I practice every day for about an hour and a half.”

The type of bow Walls uses and the way he practices also have an affect on his performance.

“I shoot a Hoyt — it’s one of the best target bows,” Walls said. “To practice, I do blank bale, which is where you put nothing on the target and you go about five yards away and close your eyes and just picture a perfect shot.”

Through the years of competing, Walls has earned countless awards, but he is most proud of his achievement at a national tournament in South Dakota.

“I got second in the First Dakota Classic,” Walls said. “We shot at 40, 50 and 60 yards. I only lost by one X, and an X is about the size of a half dollar.”

Walls has already accomplished many of his goals but he continues to find ways to improve.

“I’m working with a coach right now in Georgia,” Walls said. “He’s a really good guy,  and there’s a bunch of people that shoot with him. I plan to work with him for a while and keep continuing to win and get better.”

Walls works hard at the sport in hopes of one day making a career out of it.

“I’m planning on going to college for archery and maybe getting a scholarship,” Walls said. “I’d like to go pro at some point.”

Archery is special to Walls because of the connections it has created for him.

“It’s really just a big family — that is how archery is,” Walls said. “ I’ve made great friends [from it] and I continue to grow the archery friend group with each tournament.”

Walls has also learned important life lessons from the sport.

“Archery has taught me self confidence [because] archery is all mental.” Walls said. “I’ve seen my friends shooting the best game of their lives and it all falls apart with one arrow after it gets to their head.”

Walls is grateful for the unique opportunities archery has provided him with.

“I really enjoy shooting,” Walls said. “It has allowed me to go places and meet people I never would have dreamed of meeting.”