Students of Deer Valley: Grace Reed

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Students of Deer Valley: Grace Reed

Sam Torres, Reporter

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   Deer Valley High School is full of talented and athletic people, Grace Reed being one of them. Reed, a junior, competes in the somewhat uncommon sport of archery. As a nationally ranked archer at number 27 in the United States, Reed is a force to be reckoned with.    

   Originally born in Southampton, England, she moved to the U.S. because her mother is an RN and she applied for a green card for herself and family 14 years ago. After 12 years, they finally obtained approval. Before arriving in America on December 1, 2015, Reed lived in many UK territories, such as the Falkland Islands and Gibraltar. Her first day at DVHS was January 4, 2016.  

   The story of how Reed became interested in archery is fascinating. “I got into it by watching the Lord of The Rings series,” she said. “I used to think, and still do think, that Legolas and the elves were so cool because they could shoot a bow.”

   In addition to Lord of the Rings, Reed’s interest was peaked while watching the 2012 London Olympics. “I stumbled across archery on one of the television channels and one of the archers who was shooting at the time was Brady Ellison of Team USA━who I fortunately have been lucky enough to meet with on multiple occasions at tournaments and such.”

   Once she set her mind to it, she picked up a bow and started shooting. “I started  back in the UK with a bare bow, which is a recurve without a sight or a stabilizer or anything like that, and i shot there for about a year and a half — very very basic. I taught myself into a lot of bad habits,” Reed said, “so when I moved to America and started with a proper club, and actually taking lessons every fortnight, I realized that there’s more to the sport than just picking it up and shooting it.”

   She explained that archery is an 85-96% mental sport, so competitors have to have a very strong mentality to be able to perform well. “So, that’s the kind of area where I still have to develop and am still developing, but it is very hard to just pick up a bow and shoot.”

   Reed is coached by John McCurry, who she describes as an “absolutely amazing coach.” He’s been coaching her for about a year and a half now.

   There are many archers out there, but when it comes to females in the sport, Reed pointed out that their numbers have been dropping recently. “A lot of people have been losing interest in it, part of it is that there’s not many new archers coming up so they get in the same competition and then after a while when they just consistently win and win, it gets boring so they just drop out.”

   There’s also the issue of the categories — as people move up categories as they grow older, it leaves the younger categories a emptier. ”Right now there’s about six or seven archers that quite oftenly compete in my category, when there used to be a lot lot more,” she said.

   For students who are interested in getting into archery, Reed said, “I normally invite them to my club. I speak to my coaches to ask them if it’s okay, bring them in, and we have beginners’ classes and such.” Her club is called the Desert Sky Archers and they have basic bows, standard arrows, and classes that teach beginning skills.

   “If it’s something they’re interested in, we’ll help them get more in depth with the sport,” Reed said. So, don’t hesitate to reach out to her if 

you feel you have a passion for this sport!

   Archery, like many other sports, is expensive and you can’t always average out what the whole sport will cost because there are variables, such as the bow and brand you want. Reed’s bow cost about $1,000 without its sight, stabilizer, scope, and other equipment. With all of the extras added in, her bow probably has a value of about $2,500 to $2,750.

   She practices daily for an hour and said, “…I believe the most I have ever shot in a day is 7-8 hours, with breaks and rests in between, of course.” Archers need to be mentally prepared and also need to be strong physically, since an average tournament takes about four to five hours for a 72 arrow round.

   Reed recently competed in the 2017 Arizona State Championships and finished second in the qualification rounds and third in the elimination rounds. She explained that “state tournaments are mainly quite laid back, when you get to the higher level-kind of national tournaments they get a lot more organized and set in stone.” State tournaments feel more relaxed, there is music playing and the people in the back are talking so it’s not a completely silent competition.  

   But how does an excellent archer like herself prepare for big competitions? “I spend the upcoming week making sure I get a lot of sleep; if I have a lot of things going on with school I’ll try and sort them out as soon as I can to just be able to give myself that time of rest. I have a special kind of stretch band that I use everyday, it replicates my shot cycle except without the bow.”

   In addition to muscle training, Reed also has to adjust her diet. “The night before [the competition] I eat things with a lot of carbs, with a lot of slow releasing energy, and I have to stay hydrated,” she said.

   Reed has some tricks to help maintain a strong and focused attitude to win. “I have to be able to tell my myself ‘I can do this.’ There’s a special mental exercise where you write five to nine key points on flashcards ━ a key point is somewhere you go often or something you do often. You state your goal as if you already achieved it, so if my goal was to become state champion or to podium at the Arizona 2017 state champions, I would write my goal as ‘I am the Arizona 2017 state champion’ to get myself into the mentality that I can do it, I’ve got this.”

   Reed is planning on shooting for the Air Force archery team once she graduates high school, and with talent like hers, she’ll certainly make it big time!

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Students of Deer Valley: Grace Reed