The summer after graduating high school is often a painful waiting game as students get ready for what’s next in their lives.
For recent Moffat County High School graduate Tiffany Schulze, the wait for a post-high school adventure is only a few weeks away.
Schulze, 18, will go to Grand Island, Neb., for the 2013 National 4-H Shooting Sports Invitational June 23 to 28 and shoot in the compound archery competition. She earned a spot in nationals for placing high enough at the Colorado 4-H archery competition last August. She found out about her invitation to Grand Island in November.
Based on her performance at state, Schulze knew that she should be invited, but getting the call was still a sweet addition to her day.
“They called me while I was at school,” she said. “It was total excitement. This is what I’ve worked for.”
Finding out about her spot in nationals seven months before the event has given Schulze an entire offseason to prepare, as well as find a way to stay sharp during the time of year she’s normally not shooting.
“Usually I don’t shoot in the winter,” Schulze said. “But I had to this year. I was shooting in our basement every day.”
When she first broke out her bow in the winter she was rusty, but with several months of practice, she feels ready to shoot well at nationals now, she said.
She also spent a lot of time at the archery lanes at InsideOut Sports, which she said became a second home for her during the winter. She participated in the archery leagues hosted at InsideOut, where owner Brad King said she was consistently among the best shooters of any age from Craig.
“Her only competition here is the older pro guys,” King said.
Schulze is a gifted shooter who got into archery only five years ago, when her family moved to Craig from the Denver area. Her father got her involved with 4-H, where archery eventually became her sport of choice.
“They have .22 shooting also and that was fun, but that’s almost too easy,” she said. “Archery just stuck for me I guess. It was the right combination of challenging and fun.”
Since then, Schulze has taken it on and become and ace with her compound bow. She owes a great deal to her coaches, Shawn and Sarah Polley, she said.
“I wouldn’t be here without them,” she said. “Wouldn’t be anywhere near here.”
Of nationals, Schulze said she has no expectations other than to enjoy the experience.
“I’m really just looking forward to going,” she said. “It will be an experience that not everybody gets to have. There will be some amazing shooters there, which kind of scares me, so I try not to think about it.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org