William Walters poses with his trophy. He won third place in last years state tournament.

Provided by William Walters

William Walters poses with his trophy. He won third place in last year’s state tournament.

His fingers adjust their grip on the handle, he focuses on the tiny red dot a distance away. He pulls his arrow back, and waits to get it in line with its destination. With faith, he lets go, watching his arrow hit the center of his target.

Sophomore William Walters began to love archery after taking an outdoor education class at Arbor Creek. He tried out for the middle school archery team to see if he would make it, and not only did he make the team, but he found a passion to enjoy for the rest of his life.

“To me, it’s a ‘self-activity,’ like a mind game for yourself,” William said. “Something I can do without having to worry about anything. Archery is something you can do by yourself and you could be alone when doing it.”

William’s parents say one of his biggest qualities both as an athlete and a student is his dedication towards anything he wants to accomplish.

“He has a lot of self control and discipline,” mother Kristina Walters said. “He can choose to find time in his schedule to practice. When he puts his mind to something that makes him feel is worthy of his time and effort, he’ll find time for it.”

From taking him to minor and state tournaments, William said that his father, Adam Walters, encourages him when he messes up and gives him constructive criticism.

“I think it’s pretty cool [that he shoots archery],” Adam said. “We were on a campout a year and a half ago and it was just a bunch of dads and kids camping. They had an archery range there, so some of the adults were joking around with him. They had never seen him shoot before, and [one] of them was like, ‘bet you can’t hit that apple on the dinosaur’s nose.’ It was the size of [a] football, and it was like thirty yards away. Anyways, he put like six arrows into that apple and everybody’s jaw dropped.”

William said his biggest strength in the archery is his consistency.  

“In archery, something you really need to learn is shooting in the same place every time, and getting a group of arrows in the same spot,” William said. “I think I excel at staying myself in shooting the same shot every time, and practicing.”

William said that he made many memories while he was a student of his Arbor Creek archery teacher Dan Mannering, and credits his successes to his former coach.

“Mr. Mannering has definitely inspired me a lot,” William said. “He is just a genuine guy I hope to be someday as a person. He can teach you a lot about yourself and how to shoot. He’s an amazing archer, he’s very skilled and he knows what he is talking about.”

William said archery has offered him multiple opportunities to show his talents and has allowed him to earn money for his skills. For the past two years, he has attended the archery state tournaments, in which you must be one of the top five contestants in order to obtain a scholarship.

“Last year, when I went to state, I made sixth [place], so that was a big bummer,”  William said. “So I kept going and this year, I made second and third in some minor tournaments. Then at [the] state tournament, I got third place, which gave me $3,000 in scholarship money.”

Not only does William shoot archery, he also juggles between his studies and playing on Hebron’s JV Black baseball team. However, William said that it has not become a major problem juggling all three.

“It’s tough [to manage], it definitely causes a lot of stress,” William said. “Thankfully, archery is a sport which you could do on your downtime and even if you miss a day, you could go right back at it.”

William said he was not sure what he would like to do after high school, but shooting archery was definitely one of his options, along with baseball and further studies.

“[Archery has] given me a way to see if I want to pursue this in college too,” William said. “To join a team and compete for my college. If I stay practicing, and if I stay relatively good at the sport, I could pursue archery.”