Cole Roberts finds his focus
The Milwaukie 13-year-old proves himself one of the top young archers in the nation
Milwaukie 13-year-old Cole Roberts has been making waves in the world of competitive archery.
Roberts very first competitive event was the Oregon Bow Hunters State Indoor Championships at Chinook Winds in Lincoln City in February of 2011. Competing in the Youth Male Freestyle Division for archers ages 12-14, Roberts won the competition.
A year later, in February of this year, Cole successfully defended his state title.
Also in February of this year, Cole traveled to Los Vegas for the National Field Archery Association World Festival. Competing against close to 100 archers in his age division from all over the world, Cole placed ninth.
In March of this year Cole won his age division of the NFAA Sectional Championships at Archers Afield in Tigard.
And in May, Cole traveled to Redding, Calif. for the NFAA National 3D Outdoor Championships, and placed second in the nation in the Youth Male Freestyle Division.
Cole described the national outdoor event: You walk down a path and you shoot at 60 targets, animal silhouettes, over a period of five hours. The silhouettes have tiny red dots on them and you score higher if you hit the red dots.
The targets varied in distance from 50 yards, to silhouettes of butterflies just three yards away.
Shooting at silhouettes of elk, sheep, goats, bears, squirrels, bobcats, cougars, Bigfoot, and the butterflies, Roberts says he missed only one target.
I hit the red dots on around three-fourths of the targets, and the only target I missed was a squirrel, Cole says.
It takes a lot of concentration [to be a successful archer], said Jeff Roberts, Coles father. Since Cole started shooting, his concentration has improved tremendously and its carried over into other areas of his life, like school. Cole was an average to below-average student before archery, and now hes above average. His GPA the last grading period was 3.5.
Cole, who finished the seventh grade at Rowe Middle School in the spring, explained his improved grades: I cant shoot unless I have my homework done, because school comes first.
He added, But homework does come a lot easier now. In archery you have to focus. My focus has improved a lot over time and I bring that focus to school and doing homework.
Coles success at archery is no accident. He started practicing on a regular basis at Broken Arrow Archery in Milwaukie in the fall of 2010.
Id practice seven days a week, from 4:05 to 8 oclock-closing on school days, Cole says. I wanted to get good so I could shoot competition.
Karl Okita, the shop pro [at Broken Arrow] was Coles first mentor, Jeff Roberts says. He said Cole could win state and heres what you need to do to get there.
In October of last year, Cole shot a perfect score of 60-out-of-60 while practicing with a friend at Broken Arrow.
More recently hes been practicing out of Chinook Archery in Camas, where Dave Nelson, an accomplished adult archer, has been giving Cole tips on how to shoot successfully in outdoor competition.
Its a lot different from indoor, Cole says. Your targets are at varying distances and you have to take into account other factors, like lighting, wind, distance, glare, adjusting angles for uphill and downhill....
Archery is not inexpensive. Cole says he owns three bows, one of them a Hoyt Alpha Elite, which cost close to $3,500. Theres the range time and arrows, for both outdoor and indoor.
Cole gained a major sponsor at the sectional competition in Redding, Calif. Victory Arrows sent him a dozen arrows.
Cole has had success in other sports in youth wrestling and, as a left-handed pitcher, in baseball. Hes placed fourth in the Northwest Region in collegiate wrestling and his pitches have been clocked at 74 MPH.
Hes really good at baseball and I think it could help pay for college, but if that doesnt work out, now hes got something else to fall back on, Jeff Roberts said.
Cole says its a toss-up as to which sport he likes best, baseball or archery. He says of his goal in baseball, To get as far as I can. Hopefully I can play in college.
He says he likes the University of Oregon and the University of Texas in baseball.
I like archery because its very competitive and youre out there on your own and you have to depend on yourself and no one else, Cole said.
Ive heard that Texas A&M is interested in Cole and he could get a scholarship there [in archery] if he keeps it up and keeps improving, Jeff Roberts said.
With the 2012 summer baseball season over, Cole has been gearing up for his next archery competition, the Oregon Outdoor 3D Championship, scheduled in Eagle Point July 27-28.
He plans to continue practicing, and by December of 2014, the first time he is eligible, Cole plans to try out for the U.S. Team. And after that, theres the Olympics in four years, Jeff Roberts says.
When I introduced Cole to archery three years ago my intentions were to get him out in the woods, because thats like church to me, Jeff said. We went to the practice range, he fell in love with it, and now hes among the best in the U.S....
Ive had him shooting in adult leagues the last couple of years in clubs all over the state, and adults who have been shooting for years just walk away shaking their heads. Hes always winning the lower bracket against adults, and they cant believe what theyre seeing....