Archer Sophie Shepherd is trying to earn a spot on the U.S. National Team.
The Venice High School rising-senior has been competing in USA Archery sponsored events to try and place high enough in the end-of-year rankings to secure a position on the squad.
She placed first among 52 competitors in the young adult female recurve field at the Vegas Shoot during February. Her two-day total of 578 points included a personal-best 291 out of 300 points on the second day. She edged one of her friends by one point to claim the title.
Shepherd said she competed a third consecutive year in the tournament.
“It is a little bit customary because of how many people go,” she said.
“I had a lot of support from friends on the second day,” said the 17-year-old, who received a medal and a $1,000 scholarship from the National Field Archery Association.
She competed in the recurve cadet women field at the Arizona Cup during April and finished 14th among 49.
“I wasn’t prepared,” she said.
Her schedule for the rest of the year includes tournaments in Newberry, Fla., California, North Carolina and Texas, all of which she has competed in previously.
She practices one to two hours a day, six days a week. She won’t compete in smaller tournaments in between the national events, she said.
“I’ve been mainly focusing on form, just to get it solidified,” said Shepherd, who won the female cadet Olympic and young adult Olympic event at last year’s Sunshine State Games. “All of my focus is on those national tournaments.”
For three years she has been training under Robert Regojo, manager of the Easton Newberry Archery Center, and works with him every weekend.