Despite only learning how to shoot archery in October, a Carson City fourth grader took home second place in the Nevada state championship earlier this month.
Braelynn Hudson, 9, of Fritsch Elementary, took second place in the elementary level in archery at the state championships on Feb. 7 in Las Vegas where more than 600 students from elementary to high school competed.
“I was a little nervous but not much,” Hudson said. “When they called my name (for second place) I didn’t know what to say.”
Hudson competed in the virtual competition, where she was able to shoot in Carson City instead of traveling to Las Vegas. Eighteen other Fritsch fourth and fifth graders also competed virtually while two students were able to travel to Vegas to compete alongside the other Nevada students.
“It is fun, we are proud of her,” said Laura Valley, Fritsch P.E. teacher and archery coach. “We are proud of the kids who want to come back and continue it ... what is fun is that there are kids who I wouldn’t have guessed would like this that do. It appeals to a different kind of kid sometimes.”
This was Hudson’s first year participating in archery after falling in love with it during her P.E. class.
“I liked it the first time so I thought maybe (I should try it),” Hudson said. “I tried it in P.E. and at first I didn’t know what it was but then I liked it.”
Valley teaches archery in her class from October to November, then gives the students the option to continue at an after school competitive level if they want.
“It is just different, I like doing something (in my class) that isn’t traditional,” Valley said.
This year, Valley had 20 students in her competitive program. The competition is target archery, meaning they teach the students for sport. Every archery student in the nation uses the same bows and arrows with no gimmicks or add ons, they learn how to aim and shoot from the arrow.
“What is good with this program is that everyone shoots with the same bow and shoots with their fingers, they aim down the arrow and that is through the high school level which puts everyone on the same playing field,” said John Valley, who helps coach the Fritsch team.
One of the best parts of the program for the Carson residents is it becomes a family affair, Valley said. For Hudson, getting to learn with her family is the best part about the sport. Her family bought bows, arrows and targets so they can practice at home too.
“I like to shoot with my family, in the backyard when we can,” Hudson said.
Because she placed top 10 in state, Hudson now has the opportunity to go to the regional competition in Salt Lake City.