Two tables in the Baldowski living room in Harlem don't offer near enough space to house the trophies, awards, plaques and ribbons that Phillip Baldowski has earned over his high school career.
He's an archer, and he's a good one.
The number of national championships and tournaments he's won grew again last month when the home-schooled teen won the gold at the North American Archery Championship in Houston.
It was the second time in as many years that he's won the tournament. He did it with his Martin Archery barebow-style bow. It was given to him Dec. 23.
"I didn't know it was coming," Baldowski said. "That was a nice Christmas present."
Martin Archery sponsors the young archer and supplies him with arrows and bows. His eight national championship trophies make him an ideal spokesman for the company.
"He's the youngest recurve sponsor," said the 18-year-old Phillip's mother, Jenny Baldowski. "They're a company out of Walla Walla, Wash., but they saw him at a competition one time and said they wanted to sponsor him."
The sport has always come natural to Baldowski. He started messing around with a bow and arrow in Cub Scouts, but didn't compete in any archery events until the Georgia Games in 2004.
With the title of Eagle Scout under his belt, Baldowski has traveled all over the country competing against, and often beating, the best in the nation.
"Last summer we went to 19 states in three weeks," Jenny Baldowski said. "He brought back three national championships."
That included the 3D National Field Archery Championship in South Dakota, and the National Traditional Clout Tournament in Colorado Springs, Colo.
How does he do it? Baldowski practices right in his front yard. A large target stands at one end of the yard, and the archer at the other. From 90 meters away, he can hit the quarter-size bull's-eye with regularity.
"The hardest part is the form," he said. "I have to make sure my bow's ready to shoot, and then I get my form correct. Stance, posture, arm position, back tension and follow- through."
He could do it in his sleep.
"It relaxes me, and takes my mind off things," he said.
He'll soon hit the road again for another national competition. Baldowski said he'd like to compete at the highest level of all.
"I wouldn't mind making the Olympics," he said with a grin.
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