International targets in sight
July 21, 2014 at 2:21 a.m.
Don't call her Katniss Everdeen.
Or Robin Hood.
She's just Elizabeth Haynes, a 16-year-old archer from Victoria, who is more than just the fictional archer from "The Hunger Games" trilogy or the heroic outlaw archer in English folklore.
She's an international athlete.
In August, Haynes will head to Zagreb, Croatia, to represent Team USA in the World Archery Field Championships. It will be the first international competition for Haynes.
"It's exciting," said Haynes, who is one of 35 competitors on the USA team. Haynes is competing in the recurve junior women's division.
A recurve bow has curved tips at both ends, with one string connecting the limbs.
"I'm also nervous," said Haynes, who has been involved with archery for eight years now. "It's very interesting to see how everybody around the world who shoots."
Funding the trip, though, will be the first order of business. Just like the rest of her teammates - six from South Texas, she has to raise her own funds for the trip, which include round-trip airfare, hotel accommodations, transportation, food expenses and everything else.
So far, she has raised $3,000 of the $7,500 needed.
Her fellow USA teammates, Justin Dixon, 17, of Yoakum, and Emily Fischer, 17, of Corpus Christi, are also raising their own money for the trip.
All three practice at Straight Arrow Archery Learning Center in Victoria.
Dixon and Fischer are competing in the men's and women's compound junior divisions. A compound bow has cables and pulleys that make it move. It is heavier than the recurve bow.
For the tournament, each received only uniforms - two shirts, two shorts, a Team USA jacket and a pair of pants, Haynes said.
With the trip only a month away, it's practice and training for Haynes and her teammates.
"I'm looking to work on my mental game and be able to shoot very well throughout the tournament and shoot good shots," said Haynes, who practices for five hours, five to six days a week. "And hopefully, I'll place (in the competition)."
Haynes is currently competing in the Easton Junior Olympic Archery Development National Target Championships in Hamilton, Ohio.
At the championship, Haynes will compete both as an individual competitor and as part of the USA team in the six-day tournament held by the World Archery Federation.
The field competition involves fixed targets 65 yards away. If there is lightning, the competition will be moved indoors, where the targets are 19 yards away.
And she's aiming right for the bull's-eye with what she hopes will be a perfect posture when she shoots the arrow.
"You stand hip-width apart," she said. "The elbow comes back, you keep a straight arm, and your hand is anchored under your chin."
"Elizabeth has a real advantage in reach," said Gene Kacir, who coaches and co-owns Straight Arrow with Tom Barker. "If she relaxes and shoots her aim, she and I will both be happy.
"There's a real good possibility that all three of them can be on the podium," he said.
This will be Fischer's fourth straight year competing at Worlds and Dixon's second.
"Elizabeth's put in a lot of work," said Dixon, who was part of the team that finished fourth place outdoors last year. "She deserves it."
Haynes admits she doesn't like the fictional references.
"We just laugh it off," she said.
That's because she's just Elizabeth Haynes.
And come August, she'll have her game-face on.