Page 9 - Rockford Living Magazine 2017-18
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and sweat equity contributed by an archi- tect, contractor and more who stepped up to design and build a center that attracts shooters from all over the Lower Peninsula.
Micheal Plummer is one of them,
a 20-year-old college student from Mid- land who makes the 200-mile round trip weekly for the chance to practice there. Born with Cystic Fibrosis, Micheal
is a three-time national champion who two years running made the junior national team. And get this: Two winters ago, he traveled to Turkey to compete against some of the best shooters
on the planet in his division.
“I started when I was maybe 2 or 3 years old, just shooting out in the back yard with my dad,” he says. Though af icted with CF, Micheal shrugs it off as something that gets in the way, but hardly de nes him. “On a bad day,
it makes it hard to walk to and from the target,” he says, “but when I’m healthy, it doesn’t affect me at all.”
A student at Delta Community College near his hometown, Micheal hopes to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in mar- keting and use that experience to sign on with a maker of bows or arrows or some other element in the archery world.
He not only shoots at targets, but hunts whitetails as well, and four years ago bagged his  rst buck with an arrow – a  ne 8-pointer.
Micheal says that archery “helps me become the best that I can be. It’s what motivates me, and it teaches me not only how to be patient, but that when things don’t go your way, you need to work through it. Keep your head down and work hard to make things fall together.”
Indeed, those sage words of advice are echoed in varying degrees by virtually all the other archers, intimates Zuiderveen, who as board president is proud of the coaching staff that to a person “teaches self-reliance.”
“And I think that extends to so many other things in life,” he says, emphasizing how, if an archer is having a bad day
at a tournament, he or she can’t expect any help from a parent or coach. No matter the challenge – a faulty bow or
a mental lapse, for instance – it’s on them to  x.
In other sports, you can often count on a time-out or intermission to engage the coach – or a teammate or mom
or dad – on how to proceed. But archery, say its devotees, insists that you draw
down on what you learned about form, about perseverance, and about con - dence, and then  y solo.
For 17-year-old Mei (pronounced May) Hauenstein, archery has been a journey from timidity out into the mainstream. A junior at Tri-County High School and resident of Howard City, Mei has been shooting for four years, and she says it’s helped bolster her con dence to a point where she’s now soaring in everything from playing the trumpet to successfully competing for president of her school’s National Honor Society.
“I originally wasn’t going to try out for president, but I stepped out and was able to get outside of my comfort zone, and
I know archery was a reason behind that. “I’ve overcome pressure at tournaments, and it helped me achieve the same thing at school.”
Like Micheal, Mei’s room is cram- med with trophies and medals and plaques; she’s competed on both the state and national levels.
Not so for the young woman who was practicing off her shoulder one recent evening – 12-year-old Anna Smith, a 6th-grader at Mill Creek Elementary in Comstock Park.
Anna has only been at it for about a half year, but she’s de nitely been bitten by the archery bug. And it’s
helped her deal with the aftermath of her grandfather’s death last year, as well as some issues at school. Though Anna hasn’t competed much formally yet, “I plan to work my butt off” with plans to shoot in tournaments.
Both Mei and Anna say archery appeals to them where other sports do not, save Anna’s love of volleyball.
“I’ve always wanted to do a sport that wasn’t a team sport,” says Mei. “With archery, I can get into my own zone. No one else from my school is here. I’m not letting down the team. And it’s a quiet diversion.”
Anna loves the welcoming environment at WMAC. “The coaches here are great. You can walk in here and they don’t care if you don’t know anything. They just want you to have fun and be happy. I don’t feel the pressure. If you’re dealing
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Jeff DeRegnaucourt, a founding member of WMAC and a veteran coach has seen students trans- formed by the sport.
Charlotte Best yearned to be Artemis the huntress when she was a tot.
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