What happens in Vegas… is archery?

I recently returned from an amazing trip with my archery team. In Vegas. Yeah, I went to Las Vegas, Nevada for an archery tournament.

The road to Vegas for most people begins with way too much money and boredom. For me, that road began in Kentucky. For the second year in a row, my team competed in the US Collegiate Archery Association’s indoor tournament. This was two weeks after the semester started.

Now, last year when I did this, I had just joined the archery team in September, and my first competition was this one in March. It was incredibly nerve-racking and was made worse by the fact that literally all of my equipment with the exception of my hat was less than two weeks old. That, and my string broke when I got there (I had an extra, thankfully).

But I still did fairly well. I actually shot the best round of my life, a 207 out of 300 (pretty good for my division). Overall, the Kentucky trip last year was a blast, and I was looking forward to going on this year’s trip.

That is, until things started changing. First, we were told that the competition was being moved from March to January. Which meant that we had a whole lot less time to practice than we normally would. This was made worse because I planned to take time during my Christmas break to practice, but then I had toe surgery and couldn’t stand up for very long for two and a half weeks.

For those of you who don’t know, archery is rather difficult to do sitting down.

Then, we found out that this year’s Kentucky event wasn’t going to be part of the nationals like it was the year before, but instead, was only going to be a true regionals. The top 8 shooters in every division from every regional competition would be going to Vegas.

I had to ask twice to make sure that my coach was talking about that Vegas when he was telling the team this.


My teammate Evan and me shooting. I’m on the right. (Pic by Meredith Dissinger)

I was ranked 5th nationally last year, and my goal was to stay there. I actually ended up doing a lot better, out-shooting myself by more than 100 points, and I moved up to 4th place. Which secured my place on the Vegas trip.

As you can imagine, I was over the moon, and I was really happy that two other members of my team also scored well enough to join me on the trip.

Which was, of course, only two weeks away. *Cue 80s-style training montage*

I was in the range every other day when I could be, and I competed in a local shoot for two days longer than I needed to just to make sure my form was perfect. Because I’m an idiot and a glutton for punishment, I bought brand-spanking-new arrows and got them fletched the day before we left.

So I shot like a blind monkey for the first day of the shoot, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

before we left.jpg

It was too early, but at least the sunrise was nice.

First, we had to fly to get there. Now I like flying. Most of the time. However, waking up at 5am Virginia time, flying all day across three time zones, competing two hours after we landed, and not finishing until 12:30am Vegas time. Yeah, that was less than fun.

The good news is that I apparently shoot better exhausted. Because after a whole day of phenomenally bad shooting (due mostly to the aforementioned brand-spanking-new arrows), I started shooting really well in the shoot-offs.


My team standing with our bows and plaques. (Pic by my coach, Mitch Reno)

That is how I managed to come into the competition in 4th place and leave it ranked 2nd in the nation. The shoot-offs started at around 10pm Vegas time. My body thought it was 1 in the morning, so why I was able to stand up, much less shoot as well as I did is a mystery. I just kept praying as I shot that I wouldn’t just fall over in the middle of it.

That could have been… messy.

The rest of the shoot wasn’t as eventful. We did get to watch the World Cup of archery, so that was pretty cool. We also went to the trade show, and I picked up a sweet new quiver.

new quiver.jpg

Sweet new quiver

The trip didn’t end there, of course, but I’ll save for a later post the story of how my coach got us lost on the way to visit the Hoover Dam, so we just decided to run around in the desert for an hour. This post is a little long anyway.

I’ll end it by telling you that we left at 10pm Vegas time that day (Sunday), got back to Liberty at 11am on Monday, and I immediately had to go work for my other club until 8pm. Yeah, I don’t think I woke up again fully until Thursday.

If you’d like to here a little more about the trip and archery general, you can listen to the interview that another member of my team and I did for my friend’s radio show.


Below are a few more photos from the trip if you’re interested.

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Introverts and Extroverts at Scholarship Competitions

I’ve been going to a lot of scholarship competitions lately. I usually go to them with either my dad or my mom, and I’ve noticed something. These trips provide fantastic insight into the differences between introverts and extroverts. I’d like to acknowledge that I am, in fact, an introvert. In fact, I’m so much of an introvert that my family calls my room “the cave.” My mom is also an introvert like me, and my dad is very extroverted.

For those of you extroverts out there, I want to explain what an introvert is. An introvert is not unfriendly. Introverts can be just as friendly as extroverts. The difference is in how we get our energy, or how we recharge. Extroverts get their energy from being around people. You leave an extrovert in a room by himself, and he’ll probably get depressed. Introverts, on the other hand, gain energy by being on their own. They often dislike being around large groups of people for too long, because it will burn them out. That’s not to say that we don’t like people. In general, we can be perfectly friendly. I should also point out that extroverts need their alone time too. They just happen to need significantly less of it.

What I’ve noticed when I go on these scholarship trips with my mom is that we’re both totally wiped by the end of it. She’ll quiz me for a minute or two, but then we’ll just not talk for a while, especially if we have to drive home the same day. For those long car rides home, I tend to sleep almost half of the trip. My mom is curious about my experiences for the day, but she understands that I need to rest. She’s tired too. My dad is almost the complete opposite.

After I finish a day of chatting with deans and politely asking questions of students, my dad and I get in the car to go home. And the interrogation begins. While I’m exhausted, my dad is energized. He wants to know all about my day right now. What did the interviewers ask? How did you like the food? What was your overall impression of the school? How do you think it compares to the others you’re looking at? And on and on and on. He turns into a chatter box the moment we pass through the gates of the college. Me? I’m just leaning the chair back, lowering my hat over my eyes, and praying he gets the message.

My family is evenly split between introverts (Mom and me) and extroverts (Dad and sister). My sister always wants to have parties. My mom and I complain the whole time about our house being invaded, and my dad will stand in the living room the whole party interacting with our friends. After the party is over, my mom and I will go to bed or to play on a computer, and my dad and sister will lurk around enthusing over the success of the party. It’s just how we roll.

What about you? Are you an introvert or an extrovert?