Nick Hopkins was introduced to archery when he was in the fourth grade. Four years later Nick is still interested in the sport, competing in regional and state competitions.
"Nick just has a love for the sport and an enthusiasm that goes beyond what we call the norm," said Don Raley, president and founder of the CSRA Junior Olympic Archery Development, or JOAD. It was through Raley's program that Nick was introduced to archery.
Raley and CSRA JOAD coaches present their program during the year to all Columbia County pupils enrolled in a 4-H class at school. According to Raley, only about 10 percent of pupils introduced to the sport continue their training beyond the classroom environment. Nick is one of those pupils.
"He's a good ambassador for archery," Raley said. "He has a knack for turning an otherwise individual sport into a team sport. Other people are just as important to him as archery."
Though Nick enjoys the sport, he doesn't let it consume him.
"I just go, and when I shoot and have an off-day, it doesn't bother me," said Nick, who practices every Saturday morning.
Nick Hopkins, an eighth-grader at Greenbrier Middle School, was ranked 30th in the nation last year based on his scores at a state archery tournament.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"One of the things we preach to the kids is one bad shot should only cost you one shot," Raley said. "And Nick doesn't let it get him down. That's a positive thing."
Richard Sheppard, the president of JOAD Sure Shots, whose team Nick is now on, says the 13-year-old is definitely dedicated.
"He's not only there during practice, but he spends additional time practicing," said Sheppard, who teaches advanced archery through JOAD.
An only child to parents Jay and Rene Hopkins of Evans, Nick enjoys many outdoor activities. He enjoys fishing, and he is on the tennis team at Greenbrier Middle School, where he is in eighth grade.
"I like to spend time on the boat and water skiing," said Nick, an A/B honor roll student. "My dad has been throwing darts since I don't know when. He taught me when I was real young, and I've entered a few tournaments with him."
Nick also placed first in a regional archery tournament last year and went on to a state competition, where he placed third. His state ranking qualified him for national ranking, where he placed 30th in his age category in outdoor shooting.
"I think any kid in any national rankings in the NAA (National Archery Association) is good," Raley said.
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