Lindsey Smith should be spending her summer getting ready for her senior year of high school, like other students her age.
She’ll be in Zagreb, Croatia, instead, competing against some of the world’s best archers and representing the United States in the World Archery Field Championships from Aug. 19 to 24. Smith’s opportunity to shoot for her country is just another accomplishment to stick in the Ponder resident’s quiver.
Jesse Johnson, the head coach at Archery Insight Training and Smith’s coach, said what Smith will do in a few weeks is remarkable.
“We’re talking a representative of the United States on a world-class stage,” Johnson said. “This would be like taking a regular pro football player, then one day he has the greatest day of his life and the next day he’s in the Pro Bowl. That’s how big this is.”
Smith will be one of three members of the U.S. compound junior women’s team. Smith earned her spot on the junior national team with a third-place finish at the National Field Archery Competition at the end of the May.
Smith figured the trip to Eagle Lake was worth it, since last year’s national competition was in Spokane, Washington. At first, Smith didn’t want to make the trip that takes roughly five hours. But Smith finished with the bronze medal, earning a trip to Croatia in August.
The 18-year-old’s venture to Eagle Lake mirrored her foray into the sport her father, Tom, enjoyed. The 6-footer didn’t have any intentions of being an archer when she joined a youth hunting program when she was 11. But she figured it was worth a shot, and three years later, Smith won a $50 gift card in a contest at Cabela’s, showing Smith that she might not be too bad with a bow in her hand.
Johnson said the main reason Smith will be competing in Croatia — her first trip on an airplane — is because of her ability to stay calm under pressure. Smith said the mental aspect of archery accounts for roughly 90 percent of success in the sport.
“Just because there’s tournament pressure, it doesn’t mean it can’t feel like a regular day in my backyard,” Smith said. “The first shot’s always just as important as the last shot, because some people get so caught up in making their first few shots the best, but then they get to the last round of the tournament and they totally blow their last three or four shots because they’re done with it.”
The Hoyt bow that Smith shoots with is a compound bow, which isn’t allowed at the Olympics. Recurve bows are the only bows permitted on the world’s biggest stage.
Smith started honing her skills on her family’s 13-acre property in New Braunfels, shooting deer and doves, before the family moved to Ponder in 2007.
Her mother, Charlotte, also participated in the sport the second of her four daughters enjoys. Charlotte Smith said she didn’t expect Lindsey to find this much success at this point in her career.
“I guess I felt like she’d eventually get to this level, but not so soon,” Charlotte Smith said.
Lindsay Smith has excelled on the field, but her brilliance extends into the classroom as well. Smith should be entering her senior year of high school, but she wrapped up her homeschooling a year early.
She started taking courses at TWU when she was 16. Two years later, she’s compiled almost 60 hours of credit and has yet to receive anything but an A.
Smith is pursuing a degree in mathematics at TWU and a mechanical and energy engineering degree at North Texas. Smith said she wants to be a patent attorney or work for a company that designs bows, then shoot and travel on the weekends. She’s also been working on raising money to fund her trip to Croatia.
But until then, Smith has her passport and is set to head to Croatia to represent her country. Johnson said that Smith’s selection for the world championships could be the start of a long career for the Ponder resident.
“Making this team was like the first step,” Johnson said. “You really can’t imagine how humungous this is in the archery community to be on that team. She’s a great witness to other competitors and to her teammates. If nothing else, she will inspire other archers to want to make that team.”
For more information on making a tax-deductible donation for Smith’s trip, email Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.