While the archery competition has just completed at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, a Waterford Kettering High School student has her sights set on competing in the 2016 Olympics.
Hunter Jackson, 17, said she has been watching the Olympic archers compete on television and hopes that she will soon shoot for an Olympic medal.
“I know all of the U.S. archers,” she said. “I even went to the U.S. Olympic Training Center.”
She has already racked up over 60 U.S. national archery records and over 20 state records over a number of years.
In the meantime, she is preparing to depart for the 2012 World Archery Field Championships in the French Alps, an event that will take place beginning on Tuesday, Aug. 14 and run until Sunday, Aug. 19.
It’s an event that Jackson won a silver medal at two years ago in Hungary, which is just one part of a resume that would rival those of most current Olympians.
In just this calender year, Jackson has won gold medals at the National Target Outdoor Championships, the Gator Cup United States Archery Team qualifier and the State Archers of Michigan tournament in Waterford Township.
This comes a year after Jackson won gold medals at the National Field Archers Association Indoor Nationals in Louisville, Ky. and the Indoor World European Championships in Nimes, France.
In addition, Jackson qualified for this year’s World Field Championships by winning a silver medal at the the World Field Trials in Spokane, Wash. in May.
Unlike the archery events at the Olympics that are competed on level ground in front of a crowd, field archery involves shooting at targets on mountains.
“My dad and I have been working on angles because field archery is climbing mountains and shooting,” Jackson said. “It’s hard around here because there aren’t any mountains, so we’ve been talking a lot about eventually getting up on the roof of the garage. Last year, we set up a tree stand and I shot out of it for awhile.
“We’re shooting in the French Alps,” she said of the 2012 World Archery Field Championships. “It’s climbing mountains and shooting on angles. There’s a lot of times going from target to target, crawling on our hands and knees with all of our equipment trying to get from each target to the next.”
Jackson said that while the demands of field archery are taxing, she realizes how much fun she has had at the end of the day.
“When you talk to everybody, it’s like the most amazing experience ever,” she said.
Jackson has been shooting a bow and arrow since she was 7-years-old, when a bow was passed down to her during an annual family trip to a deer camp in Clare, Mich.
“My first shot went into an old dead tree,” Jackson said. “My Dad went to Jay’s Sporting Goods and bought me a Brown Micro Mitus bow and I haven’t stopped since.”
Jackson has since competed in numerous tournaments in locations across the state and country, as well as in Europe.
“When I come back from France, I’m only home for a day and then I leave for another archery tournament in California, so a lot of times it gets extremely overbearing because of jet lag, but then I sit back and say it’s worth it,” Jackson said. “With all the opportunities it’s given me and everybody I’ve ever met, there’s nothing that would not make me want to do it anymore.”
She added that Hungary has been her favorite place to visit and that one of her best friends is an archer from Slovenia.
In addition, Jackson was named to the U.S. Junior Dream Team in 2009 and remained on the team until late last year.
Jackson said that she left the team because she wasn’t ready yet to make the full-time switch from the compound bow she regularly shoots with to the recurve bow required to participate with the team in the Olympics.
“The type of bow you shoot is a huge difference,” she said. “It is much harder to shoot recurve.”
But she said she still hopes to try out for the next Olympic games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil in 2016.
Jackson said that she shoots 200 and 400 shots a day during the summer to ensure her success and relies on her Christian faith to help her through adversity and keep her grounded when she’s successful.
“The humbleness is not my ability, but what God lets me do,” she said. “Everything I do is for God. I just try to inspire other people because I can.”
During the school year, Jackson works to balance her schoolwork with her archery practice and tournaments, which involves a lot of early mornings and late nights, as well as sacrifices such as less time for friends and social gatherings.
But she said she remains grateful for the support given to her by her friends, except for one pet peeve.
“If I hear one more thing about being Katniss, I will probably slap someone,” Jackson said, referring the lead female character from “The Hunger Games.”
As she prepares to enter her senior year of high school, Jackson said that she hopes to eventually attend Michigan State University, where she can join the school’s archery team and pursue her goal of being a veterinary specialist.
In the meantime, she now looks to head back to Kettering with a couple more championships under her belt, beginning next week in France.