MARTINSVILLE — Despite being one of the top female archers in the world, Fawn Girard of Martinsville never attempted to make the United States national team.
But at the prompting of a family friend, Girard went this past weekend to the U.S. Team Trials for the World Archery 3-D Championships.
“I’ve always been kinda … I know I’m good but I don’t feel I’m the best shooter,” Girard said during a recent interview at the archery range at the Clinton County Farmers and Sportsmen’s Club. “I’m a decent shooter.”
On June 22-23 in Metropolis, Ill., home of the Superman museum, Girard was a tower of strength as the top female in the barebow class of the 3-D event and earned a spot on the U.S. national team which will compete Sept. 19-24 at Robion, France in the World Archery 3-D Championships.
“You had two arrows at each target, 24 targets,” said Girard, who received a medical-related honorable discharge from the United States Marine Corps. “You had to be in the top three (to make the national team) and I was the top female by 20 points.”
To make things better, Girard — a whimsical, affable sort — said the trials took place in inclement weather conditions. Some shooters decided to pack their arrows before completing the course.
“We shot in the pouring rain, there was no lightning so they didn’t call it,” said Girard, who is an intervention specialist in the Hillsboro City Schools, teaching third grade math. “It was awesome.”
Even though she didn’t pick up a bow until 2005, Girard has won four International Bowhunting Organization (IBO) world titles, several U.S. Indoor National titles, Archery Shooters Association (ASA) state champion and shooter of the year honors along with earning numerous state and indoor national records.
Despite all her successes, this was Girard’s first try at the U.S. national team in any archery discipline. The 3-D discipline refers to the targets the archers are faced with — 3-dimensional hunting type animals rather than a circular paper target, for instance.
“A good friend of ours, John Demmer, who tried out for the U.S. Olympic team for this last Olympics, told me I should try it,” Girard said. “He said ‘Why not? Just see how you’ll do. You’ll kick some butt. Just go.’”
At the additional urging of Ken, her husband, Girard decided to go to the small southern Illinois town that sits on the Ohio River and compete in the U.S. Team Trials for the World Archery 3-D Championships.
“Why not see where it goes?” she said. “When you’re doing athletic stuff like this, your eyes start to go and your body tells you … as an older person, I mean, I’m not old. I’m 38. But when you’re competing against 18 year olds and you’re body isn’t as good as it used to be, if you’re going to take advantage of what you have, you better do it when you’re younger.”
With that in mind, Girard still have plenty of goals for her competitive archery career.
“If I could make the Olympic team, how awesome would that be?” she said. “It’s one of those things I think I can do it, then why not. If I don’t make the Olympic team, I have goals other than that. But that would be a goal for me. I think I could do it.
“If not 2020 (in Japan), then 2024. 2024 is in California. I didn’t start shooting until I was old…er, then to make the Olympic team, that would be cool.”
Mark Huber is the Sports Editor for The Wilmington News Journal