After dreaming of it for years, freshman Robby Weissinger is now competing to be one of the world’s best archers.
Weissinger has been shooting competitively since middle school, and has been “hooked from the beginning.”
Now in college and the treasurer of the USD Archery Club, Weissinger is looking to keep improving his shooting skills.
Weissinger thought archery was an interesting sport after starting off with bowhunting.
“I just would see people on TV shooting deer with a bow and I thought that was kind of cool to try out,” he said.
Shooting for greatness
Weissinger recently competed in the National Field Archery Association “Vegas Shoot” on Feb. 10.
Weissinger was ranked third for the preliminary part of the tournament and placed fifth at the elimination rounds at the Vegas competition.
“(It’s) not quite where I wanted to be, but for a first time, it was pretty good,” Weissinger said. “I shot against people that were a little older than me and had a little more experience doing this, so overall I’m happy with my performance, but there’s obviously room for improvement.”
Josahan Jaime-SantaCruz is the coaching and program director at the National Field Archery Association at the Eastern Yankton Archery Center, and has been coaching Weissinger since the beginning of this year.
“(I’m) proud of Robby,” Jaime-SantaCruz said. “He has great skills for a freshman. (To be) ranked fifth in the country (is) quite an achievement.”
Weissinger has been shooting Olympic-style for about two years, and said it’s “one of the most difficult styles to learn to shoot it correctly and to be able to repeat it.”
“All forms of archery are hard in their own ways,” he said. “Olympic is probably one of the most physically demanding and requires a little bit extra.”
Weissinger said he wants to shoot at the Olympic trials.
“I have no doubt that I have the form that I could shoot up and go win tournaments right now — so, win some of the biggest tournaments out there and go to the Olympics with the form that I have now,” he said.
President of USD’s Archery Club and sophomore Elizabeth Johnston said Weissinger is on his way to the Olympics.
“It’s going to take a while before he actually achieves it… but with the motivation he has, he’ll achieve it sooner or later,” Johnston said.
Being a mentor
Weissinger said he wants to help others achieve the passion he has for archery.
“I feel like I was put on this planet to shoot and to help others pursue the same path that I’m pursuing,” he said. “I’m going to do my best to help people grow and improve themselves. That’s a big thing for me.”
Weissinger coaches younger children back home in Iowa, and said he enjoys helping others learn.
“I feel like I’m paying back a due,” he said.
Weissinger said his achievements have helped motivate his students.
“With me shooting on a bigger stage than most kids have ever seen before, I feel like I’m helping show them all things are possible if you just work hard enough for it,” Weissinger said. “There’s a lot of kids that just think, ‘Well, I couldn’t do it,’ and that was me not too long ago.”
Weissinger said he remembers other archers’ achievements rather than his own.
“I hold those memories a little more truer to myself than of my own accomplishments,” he said.
Though Weissinger practices at least five times a week for a few hours a day, he still puts school first.
“Sometimes I just can’t shoot for a couple of days because of homework and tests,” he said. “I gotta have the grades in order to shoot well.”
Weissinger said archery is a hard sport to master mentally.
“Everything I’m battling right now is between my ears. Everything is in my head,” he said. “Archery is one of the most aware sports of the mental game, I believe.”
Weissinger said it’s imperative not to think negatively when competing.
“If I start thinking negative thoughts like, ‘Oh, my last shot wasn’t a 10, so this one isn’t going to be a 10 either,’ that makes it almost for sure that what I want is not going to happen,” Weissinger said.
Hopes for the future
Johnston said she has high expectations for Weissinger because of his dedication to the sport.
“He is very motivated when it comes to competing in archery and he’s always at the range, always practicing and always wants to better himself,” Johnston said. “He’s very competitive and eager.”
Jaime-SantaCruz said Weissinger is doing a good job of representing USD.
“(He’s one of the most) prepared archers on the range,” Jaime-SantaCruz said. “He’s willing to put in time to train. I’m confident Robby is going to have a successful archery career.”
Weissinger’s goal is to grow and compete more in order to enhance his archery skills.
“I plan to keep working harder and harder,” he said. “Now, instead of shooting more, I wanna shoot better during that practice to grow as an archer.”