It doesn’t matter how fast or how tall you are. You don’t need brute strength or iron lungs, either. Just a keen eye and a focus on perfection.
Ashlie Garrison, an eighth-grader at Castle North Middle School has a focus greater than most.
She can fire an arrow and nail her target from 15 meters.
But she’s hoping to catch a flight — a shot some 8,000 miles away — while closing in on a perfect score.
With her sights set to South Africa, Ashlie is shooting to be the best archer, not just in the Tri-State, but the world.
Her coach, John Reed, who’s been at the helm of the Castle North archery team for six years, says she is a special talent.
“She’s here when school gets out ‘til they close the lights down.”
Ashlie first picked up a bow at 8 years-old, while learning from her dad.
“He was out shooting his bow and I said I wanted to do it,” Ashlie recalls.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Ashlie has climbed to the top of the archery ranks, not just on her team or the state, but the country. She finished first place overall in May at the national tournament in Louisville, Ky.
Her high score set in practice earlier this week is 298 out of 300.
A perfect score, her coach says is as rare as golf’s hole-in-one. To be near it, at her age, Reed says is elite.
“That’s not too bad!” her coach jokes, “that’s a lot better than me!”
The Castle North team will compete at a world competition in South Carolina later this month, but Ashlie’s journey is only getting started.
Her sharpshooting has earned her a spot on the USA All-Star team as one of just 16 in the nation. Ashlie is the youngest girl on the team.
The star-studded squad is set to shoot in Johannesburg, South Africa in July, but the trip with her family will cost more than $7,000 and they’re looking for help to make it happen.
You can make donations at Evansville Teacher’s Federal Credit Union, made out to “CNMS Archery” with a memo for “South Africa.”
Checks can also be mailed to CNMS Archery Club (John Reed) at 5622 Epworth Road, Newburgh, IN 47630.