Targeting a world championship: Teen archer heading overseas to compete
Erin White, a 15-year-old Monroe High sophomore, will compete in Italy this September as one of five Washingtonians representing
the U.S. in the World Archery Field Championships. Here, she practices shooting her recurve bow.
MONROE — In less than a month, Monroe High School sophomore Erin White will be representing the United States at the World Archery Field Championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, a town in the Alps. White joins Arianna Santiago of Bremerton and Faith Cook of Shoreline on the USA Recurve Junior Women team in the championship Sept. 4 through 9.
Santiago is full of praise and admiration for White.
“She’s so good at guessing distance,” Santiago said. “When she’s on, she’s on. Her ability to execute a shot is so smooth and consistent. She also has a super good attitude and an awesome work ethic.”
White’s love of archery is an inherited trait: her mother and coach, Lisa White, is a trained and certified archery coach, and White’s paternal grandmother shot longbow competitively. It was this same bow that sparked Erin’s interest. White discovered it when she was 8, and tried out different types of bows until she found her best fit, a recurve bow. Recurve bows allow for greater speed and energy efficiency than traditional bows, and have historically been preferred for archers on horseback or in wooded areas. They are especially effective in White’s favorite archery style, field archery.
Unlike the more well-known target archery where competitors stand in a fixed spot, outdoor field archery involves a roving course, usually in the woods. Archers shoot paper targets at distances varying from less than 10 yards to up to 80 yards.
Field archery requires an incredible amount of physical and mental strength. White practices six days a week, shooting three hours a day. She tries to get a certain number of arrows shot per day, and her mom Lisa White films her shooting practice so they can review the footage and work on her form. She also follows a strength training and running regimen to hike and shoot strong during competitions.
White is inspired by certain types of music during her workouts, and appreciates one song in particular.
“‘Eye of the Tiger’ is my pump-up song,” she said. “My dad and I love it. That’s our song.”
Lisa White is left-handed, but had to learn to shoot with her right hand because there weren’t accommodations for left-handed students when she was taught archery. Although Erin is right-handed, she shoots left-handed. Lisa White has been her daughter’s coach since last fall, but views herself as more of a facilitator than a coach.
“Erin is so impressive,” said Lisa White. “She has clear goals and takes ownership of what she has to do to get there. It comes from within. I’m just helping her get there.”
When she isn’t training or competing, Erin enjoys hiking, traveling, and riding her three horses.
“Archery is my main focus, but I like to have balance,” she said.
Both mom and daughter appreciate all the support they’ve received from the community. White trains at the Monroe YMCA, and feels encouraged by Monroe High School to achieve
her archery goals. Even with her competition schedule, White maintains a 4.0 GPA. This summer she was accepted into the Junior Dream Team program at the Easton Foundations Archery Center of Excellence in Chula Vista, California, and had to
leave high school early. The Monroe High staff was more than happy to be flexible for the self-motivated teen.
“I was worried about the time commitment and school, but the teachers and staff have been fantastic,” said Lisa White. “They let her take her finals with the seniors this year so she could go to camp.”
“Everyone’s so encouraging,” Erin White said. “They all say, ‘You’re going to the Olympics!’”
To practice and keep up their competitive edge, White and Santiago participated in the Northwest Mountain Challenge, a weekend shooting event in July at Stevens Pass Ski Resort. Both agree that it was indeed a challenge.
“Italy may seem easy after that one,” Erin White quipped.
The World Archery Field Championship is part of the World Archery Championships, which were first held in 1931 in Lviv, Ukraine. The Archery Field Championship was first held in 1969 in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.
After 1970, the championship has been held every other year. The 2016 championship was held in Dublin, Ireland.
“I’m not sure what to expect in (Italy), so I’m training to get ready for anything,” said White.
Besides competing, she is also looking forward to meeting fellow archers.
“I’m excited to meet new people from different areas that have the same passion,” White said. “At the end of the competition we get to trade jerseys. I’d love to have that keepsake.”
Santiago finds it fitting for them to be attending the World Championship together.
“Erin is the reason I do this,” Santiago said. “We met in 4-H and she was so nice to me. Now I’ve been shooting for six years and it comes full circle as we get to go to Italy together.”
White is also excited to go with Santiago and Cook.
“I grew up with them and we’re all good friends,” said White. “It will be so good to shoot together. We’ve already built this trust and understanding, which is important for a team.”
White is currently paying and fundraising her own way to the World Championship. If you would like to make a donation, visit www.makeachamp.com/usateamarchery
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