Two students of the Easton Newberry Archery Center have been selected to the 2013 USA Archery Junior Dream Team (JDT), which consists of 24 of the most promising junior and cadet Olympic style archers in the country.
Cub recurve archer, Ryan Oliver, and cadet recurve archer, Chris Francis, were chosen to the Junior Dream Team. The team was developed to bridge the gap between Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD) and the Resident Athlete Program in an effort to fast track those archers who show early potential. The program’s former students include Olympians, several World Archery Youth Championships Team Members, and USA Archery Resident Athletes.
“It is such an honor,” said Oliver. “It has always been my goal to make the JDT and it feels great to have finally accomplished that goal.”
Oliver’s 2012 competition resumé was one reason he was selected. He collected 22 gold medals in 26 events at the club, state and national level. The highlight of his season came in June, when he defended his 2011 title by winning the gold medal in the Olympic MALE Cub Recurve division at the Easton JOAD Nationals in Hamilton, Ohio.
Oliver, 13, has been taking classes at the Easton Newberry Sports Complex since it opened in 2009.
“The center is less than a mile from my house, so I can ride my bike there,” said Oliver. “Having a facility so close makes it very easy to train. I started taking weekly classes with Coach Bob Romero at the center once it opened. That is where I first started learning about the NTS (National Training System).
“I started competing at the end of the JOAD tournaments. My first FITA (Federation of International Target Archery) was in June 2010 at the Sunshine State Games where I shot 144 arrows in temperatures over 100 degrees. That was the first state level gold medal I earned. Since that time, I have shot tens of thousands of arrows, and I now I take classes with Coach Robert Turner.”
Under his current training regimen, Oliver shoots 600-700 arrows a week, along with Special Physical Training (SPT) and cardio training. Now that he is a member of the Junior Dream Team, he expects his physical training to intensify. And his mental approach to the sport of archery is pretty simple:
“You have to forget about the bad shots and focus on making the next one better,” said Oliver. “When you make a good shot, you try to make your next one the same.”
Oliver was not the only Newberry Archery Center athlete to make the Junior Dream Team. Chris Francis, 17, was also selected to the team.
“Since I haven’t been competing very long, I didn’t really expect to get on the Junior Dream Team,” said Francis. “I think it’s great to be in that company. I’m excited about getting to work with the coaches and being part of a great team.”
Francis only recently became interested in the sport of archery and began training at the Easton Newberry Sports Complex.
“I started taking archery classes about two years ago,” said Francis. “I became interested because my brothers and sisters were taking archery classes, and I’ve always enjoyed shooting sports.”
In the 2012 season, which was Francis’s first year in which he competed on the state, regional and national level, he ended up placing in the middle of the Cadet Male Recurve division in national and regional tournaments.
“I was pleased with my finishes,” said Francis. “Although naturally, I want to do better. My division is one of the largest divisions at the national level, so I thought that placing in the middle was pretty good for my first time competing. However, my scores have gotten better over the past several months and I hope to place much higher next year.”
After placing first in all of the state tournaments that Francis competed in, as well as currently holding six state records, he is working hard to improve on the regional and national level. He believes the Junior Dream Team will help him accomplish that.
“I currently practice about four days a week and take two classes a week,” said Francis. “I also do exercises and strength training. As a member of the team, I will have to keep a training log and meet with a coach once a month using Skype, so I think that will help me to be consistent in my training.
“Taking classes at the Newberry Archery Center has helped me learn how to shoot and also helped me to improve my skills. The coaches at the center, other experienced archers I have met, and my mom have all helped me to improve my shooting skills. Additionally, all of the tournaments that the Center hosts have helped me to gain experience in competitive target archery.”