After less than a year of archery experience, I decided to leave my job in Corporate America as a Senior Economist to pursue Archery full time as a professional. That lasted a year before it was back to work I went. Here is a little more about my background:
I grew up in Ohio and consider myself a Midwestern through and through. My athletic story begins in 1st grade when I was in the highest-level swim class at the local pool. It quickly became apparent that I was a natural at butterfly and was asked to join the swim team. I went on to set some 8 &under butterfly records, and along with some friends was able to set the league record for the medley relay!
Swimming remained my focus all the way through high school, but being the competitive person that I am, I also participated in a whole host of other sports and activities. I played softball, wearing #15 proudly for my favorite Cleveland Indian of all time, Sandy Alomar Jr, was a setter in volleyball, and ran distance in track (along with throwing discus, shot put and even the hammer throw).
After H.S. and training/competing in New Zealand and Australia, I went to college at Xavier University in Cincinnati, majoring in Mathematics. Here I tried a semester of crew before switching to club water polo. I also participated in a host of intramural sports with friends, including softball where we were league champs. I also managed to get 4 minors (Chemistry, Economics, Philosophy and Theology)…hey, I have a hard time making decisions!
From here, I moved to RI to get a PhD in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics at the University of Rhode Island (#2 ranked school in the world for this program). Here I quickly went into culture shock and had to pick up a second and third job, just to survive (went from $1.99 gallon of milk to over $5!). Between working and the tough demands of classes and research, I had no real avenue to channel my competitiveness, so after 1.5 years, I decided to leave with just a Masters.
I got a job with a company outside of Boston, graduated, bought a house in Connecticut and got married, all within a 3-month period. Me and my husband, Rich, quickly took up biking as our new sport, hoping it would keep us both in shape and be something we could do together. Rich quickly excelled and decided to race cross country (mountain bike) and cyclocross. It didn’t take long before I couldn’t handle standing on the sidelines cheering, so I had to start racing too. Unfortunately, my skills were not very good and I struggled (have I mentioned I HATE losing!). After some crashes and other unfortunate events, we both decided to cut back on the racing and just enjoy biking again.
It was during this time that Rich challenged me to a duel in the yard. Naturally, I was not about to back down from a challenge, so I picked up a bow to shoot against him. I easily beat him, so he decided winner was best out of 3 ends. Well needless to say this continued for nearly an hour, with Rich not winning a single end. He decided it was time to take me to a range, as this might be a great new hobby for us. This was a couple months after the Olympics, so we both decided to buy recurve bows with hopes of someday getting good enough to qualify.
I struggled with the recurve bow, never truly enjoying myself, as I felt awkward and unnatural with it. On a whim, I entered the local shop’s event in the compound division and shot with a $200 Bass Pro Special bow. I put up a pretty respectable score, but more importantly I knew this was the type bow for me. Even though it meant giving up my lifetime dream of someday making the Olympics, I sold my recurve bow and got a target compound bow for Christmas…not realizing this was about to completely change my life.
After being successful locally, I decided to try my hand at some national level tournaments, with sights set on making the US National Team. The schedule was not in my favor, both as a new archer AND someone living in the cold Northeast, so I didn’t hit my strides until later in the season (and therefore did not make the team). I did, however, place 4th at the US Open the final event of the season and began to get equipment sponsors (product discounts).
In August (just 9 months after getting my bow), I was offered the opportunity to quit my job and become a professional archer. It was a tough decision, but with Rich’s support, I was able to compete around the World as a pro (winning my first international archery competition, the 2013 Indoor World Cup in Morocco) for a full year. I learned a lot during those twelve months and my archery improved dramatically. I then went back to work as a Senior Economist, while continuing to compete at the top level in the sport.
After two successful years of doing the Outdoor World Cup circuit (and 3 of the indoor), I hit a point where I wanted more in the sport. I’d accomplished more than I could have ever imagined in archery with a compound, but I still felt like something was missing. During the Spring and Summer of 2016, I tossed around the idea of switching to recurve. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, and I’d be essentially starting over from scratch, but after a lot of thought and discussions with some close friends and family, I knew it was the right decision. So after competing in the World Cup Finals and World Field Championships, I put the compound away and moved to recurve 100%.
I wanted to make sure I did things the RIGHT way from the start, so I went out to see Coach Lee at the US Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista before shooting a single recurve arrow. He taught me not only the fundamental form, but he also gave me the thought process behind it. This allowed me to fall in love with the recurve, and I’m excited to once again have a goal of the Olympics.