Local youth makes the mark 0
Even without perfect vision, Christie Lavallee has no problem hitting the bull's eye.
The 17-year-old St. Ambroise product showed expertise at a pair of recent archery events, taking silver at the indoor target provincials in Winnipeg on Mar. 25 and gold at the indoor 3D provincials in Erickson on Mar. 18. Lavallee will also attend the outdoor 3D nationals in Vernon, B.C. in August.
Competitors shoot from a standard 18m distance in target archery, but in 3D, competitors are shooting at three-dimensional animal targets.
What makes Lavallee's success in the 3D division even more impressive is that she lacks depth perception, making it necessary for her to find other ways to hit the target.
"I have little tricks that I use to try to help myself figure out that distance," said Lavallee. "I train myself. It's almost like a mental image - I know what a certain target looks like at a certain distance, how big it should be."
Lavallee began with a bow given to her by her uncle, and she started off by shooting at small targets for approximately three years. From there, she purchased a better bow, and then began competing last year.
"I wanted to try something new. I wanted to challenge myself a lot," said Lavallee, who is self-taught and doesn't belong to any club. "It's actually very fun. It's a great sport."
Lavallee said she practices in her yard much of the time, but will also train at Heights Archery Range if the family is in Winnipeg.
In her first year of competition, she made it to the national 3D championships in Saskatchewan, placing sixth. When she attends this year's competition, she hopes to make it into the top three.
Lavallee said she learned plenty from last year's experience.
"It was a whole different experience in itself. It was very fun," said Lavallee. "Each day was challenging because the competition spanned through three days, and there were four different courses that you had to walk."
Lavallee said the most challenging day was the second, where gusty conditions made things difficult.
"It was super-windy in the morning and one of the courses was out in the open," said Lavallee. "Of course, with the wind and all that, it's hard to do shooting because you have to keep your bow steady."
Lavallee hopes to make it to the world competition one day, and though she's worked without a coach to this point, has considered getting instruction.
"A couple people have asked me to join their clubs," said Lavallee. "There's a lot of stuff I really have to look at now and try to decide where I want to take my archery."