Samantha Pruitte, 12, of Harlem, shoots her compound bow en route to the female compound bow title in the National Archery Association Indoor National Championship in Morrow, Ga., last month.
Samantha Pruitte is right on target.
The 12-year-old Harlem girl won the National Archery Association's Indoor Championship in the female compound bowman class in Morrow, Ga., on March 14-16.
The title is only one of two national, eight sectional and nearly 30 state wins for the Harlem Middle schooler. But she considers herself no different from any other student.
"It is really no different because some of (my friends) have different hobbies," Samantha said. "So, it is really not any different. We are all just really good friends and consider each other normal."
Samantha's success isn't a coincidence. She's been shooting since age 6 under the watchful eye of her father, Jim, who is a NAA coach and a pro shooter himself.
She does it because she loves it.
"I like to meet new people and travel places and plus, it is just fun to shoot," Samantha said.
Her weekends during the archery season, which runs from January through August, are spent on the road to tournaments all over the country with her parents, Jim and Michell, both avid shooters. In just the past two years, the family has traveled to Las Vegas, Watkins Glen, N.Y., Atlanta and Myrtle Beach, among others.
"It is fun," Samantha said of all the traveling. "Me and my parents are kind of close and I spend a lot of time with them."
Mr. Pruitte agrees.
"We get to see a lot," he said. "That is exciting to her. it is exciting to us. We have a good time doing it. It is something we all do together, so we really enjoy it."
Practice during the season is almost daily at home, the indoor range at American Sportsman or at Thomson Field Archery Club.
"You cannot push them into something they don't want. They have to want to do it.," Mr. Pruitte said. "She has worked for it. She has really worked for it. To stay on top, if you are going to stay competitive, it is a full-time thing."
Practice dwindles down to weekly in the off-season. But the heavy practice during does not seem to affect Samantha as she stays on the all A honor roll at school, Mr. Pruitte said.
Samantha plans to continue shooting through high school and maybe earn herself a college scholarship, she said.
"I might go pro in a couple of years, but not any time soon though," she said. "They do not allow compound shooters in the Olympics. If they did, I would (go for it)."
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