Stanton Joins US Jr. Olympic Archery Team
Many young people dream of going to the Olympics and for most it is just that, a dream. For Union Springs senior Brandon Stanton, his dream is quickly becoming a reality.
Last month, Stanton, 17, learned that earned a spot as a member of the United States Jr. Olympic Archery team (USAT). The USAT consists of the best archers in the country, selected based on performance in national and USAT series events.
Stanton, whose parents both participated in the sport before he was born, began seriously training as an archer when he was 12 years old. Now, he’s the fifth ranked archer in the country for his age group.
“I feel very accomplished. It’s been my big dream to get on the Jr. Olympic team,” he said.
To make it to this level, Stanton said he practices multiple times a week and travels across the country to compete. Archers attend multiple national competitions over the course of the year. Points are compiled and at the end of the year competitors are ranked by their points.
“Brandon is one of the most deserving young archers in the United States because of his work ethic and attitude. He is shooting against hundreds upon hundreds of youth shooters from across the country, so being ranked fifth in the nation is quite a big accomplishment,” said his instructor Mike Price.
Stanton also talked about the mental strength that it takes to compete at such a high level, often in extreme weather conditions. For example, at an event in Florida the heat index was upward of 110 degrees during a competition and his bow weigh 15 lbs.
“It’s mostly mental. If you can’t stand in front of a thousand-plus people and shoot a perfect shot, then you’re out of the game,” he said. “It’s hard to do. It’s different for everybody. For me it’s just doing it over and over again and doing it for yourself. You don’t look at other people - you just do what you do best.”
The next steps for Stanton include continuing to train, travel and compete. Next fall he will attend Alfred State and compete collegiately.
Qualifying for the US Men’s Sr. Olympic team is one of Brandon’s next big dreams. According to his coach he can do it.
“If he keeps up the same determination and work ethic, he can it. He just needs to get funded,” said Price.