By Irene Bowie-Johnson
It has been an incredible journey for young archer Blake Hayes, 15, of Portland Central School who has recently been chosen to shoot for the official Benson Shooting Team, and now shoots a Prime STX bow – a great achievement for a Junior archer who has only been competing in the sport for a year.
Blake started archery with the Lithgow Valley Archers a year ago, Since then he has been very successful, competing all around NSW in state and branch titles and winning many medals, plaques.
“He’s come along in leaps and bounds,” said Jeremy Cooke, Blake’s coach and mentor at the Lithgow Valley Archery Club. “He has the right attitude for archery. The biggest thing, especially for teenagers, is juggling your social life and still having enough time to practice. Blake hasn’t really struggled with that. He’s been quite good at keeping the focus.”
Blake’s focus has paid off. He’s rocketed to ‘A’ Grade very quickly – a great testament to his skill and dedication to the sport.
Blake has recently joined the Penrith City Archers for target archery and has joined their junior development squad. He’s currently working toward a spot on the state team and training for the junior world titles in 2016. “Blake’s cross participation in field and target archery is great for him and the sport,” said Jeremy.
Blake said he has a lot of people he needs to thank for their help over the last year. In particular he wanted to thank Mr Brian Coole who noticed his talent and helped him from the very beginning; his coach and mentor Mr Jeremy Cooke also from Lithgow Valley Archers who is helping him grow as an archer; and the 3D and ABA archery family for being so helpful and supporting him.
Blake’s recent success may sound like a lot, but it is really only the start of a new journey. Over the coming weeks and months he’s going to be kept busy with a very demanding schedule of Qualifiers and Championships. “We’re all off to the State IFAA (International Field Archers Association) state championships down in Bateman’s Bay this weekend,” Jeremy said. “There’s a lot scheduled, especially for archers who cross participate.”
We’d like to congratulate Blake on his achievements and wish him all the best. We are sure there will be more great stories to come.