Samantha Pruitt is a typical 16-year-old student when she walks the halls of Harlem High School. Most of her friends and classmates don't realize what happens when she hits the road on the weekends.
"They don't really think much of it," Samantha said. "I guess it's just not mainstream. They don't realize what it is, and I understand that."
Samantha is an archer. While she holds down a part-time job and has helped out with filming Harlem basketball games on weekdays, her weekends are filled with her other hobby.
Perhaps "passion" is a better word.
"During indoor season, I practice every day," Samantha said. "Maybe I'll take a day off every now and then, but it just depends on what tournaments I have coming up."
She's in the offseason now, but the summer months brought more than enough successes to get her through the winter. Samantha won several tournaments and set a few world records this summer.
Her point totals were good enough to earn a highly prestigious award in the world of amateur archery. Samantha earned the only girls compound cadet spot on the Junior United States Archery Team. She had to win three national tournaments to make the team.
Samantha said the key to success is in her head.
"The form takes a lot of time to build up, but once you reach a certain level your form can only go so far," she said. "You hit that high point, and then it becomes a mental game. If you crumble under pressure or you can't deal with it, it's hard. It's all a mental game after that."
The Harlem junior said she'll take a break this fall and begin full training again in the middle of November to prepare for the upcoming indoor season. Part of her plan in 2008 will include trying out for the Junior World Team and a possible trip to the world championships in New Delhi, India.
Samantha said she hopes there will be a spot on the archery team at Georgia College and State University after she graduates. Her options are limited when it comes to archery in college.
"There's not many (college) varsity archery programs left in the United States," she said. "They do at least have a program at Georgia College and State."
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