Colleen Drake is shooting for success in this year’s Meijer Winter State Games, literally! At 12-years old, this 7th grader out of Pierce Middle School in Waterford will be participating in the Indoor Archery event.
Unlike most young athlete’s, who follow in the footsteps of their parents when it comes to selecting a sport, Colleen set her own path. A few years back, when Colleen was camping with her family at Tahquamenon State Falls Park, she decided to enroll in an Archery 101 course held by the DNR. “Not only was it a lot of fun, but I knew this was something special for me, something different,” Colleen explained, “After we got home, I begged my parents to let me do Archery.” In support of their daughter’s new passion, Colleen’s parents enrolled her into a 10-week course at the Oakland County Sportsmen’s Club. Last summer, Colleen attended the USA Archery Training Camp at Michigan State University. She enjoyed the experience so much that she decided to join the MSU Demmer Center where she currently trains with her coach, Glenn Bennett.
When asked about her interest in participating in this year’s Meijer Winter State Games, Colleen responded, “I have participated in two of the Summer Games and last year’s Winter Games. This tournament is a lot of fun. I have made many new friends and I look forward to seeing them each year. I really love the experience of being around other archers and athletes. I also love the idea of athletes of all ages being able to compete in a mini Olympics right here in Michigan!” Colleen has already won one bronze medal and two silver medals in previous State Games, and looks forward to shooting her personal best score come February.
In addition to her success in the State Games, Colleen has also been awarded the Steve L. Wilson award at the MSU Demmer Center, handed out to the most dedicated recurve archer. Furthermore, Colleen placed 4th at the NFAA National Championship and will look to continue her national presence when she competes in Las Vegas in January.
Colleen’s success, however, is far from limited to Archery. At Pierce Middle School, Colleen is a member of the student council in addition to being a member of the National Junior Honor Society. Colleen also plays the violin on a consistent basis and is a member of the fiddle club. As far as hobbies go, Colleen enjoys camping, geocaching, hiking, and listening to music, although her true passion lies in archery where her lifelong goal is to be on the Junior Dream Team (JDT) and go to the Olympics.
So just how does this sharp-shooter maintain a healthy living to remain fit for her sport? According to Colleen, her coach is all over it. “Coach Glen stresses the importance of a good diet. No sugars, no sodas, and no chocolate on days when I shoot! He even has us do cardio” said Colleen. “Coach Glen also says that my grades are super important. You need a strong brain too. Archery is just as much a mental game as it is a physical one.” When asked about the importance of sportsmanship in her sport, Colleen responded, “I love Archery and I want others to love archery, so I am always encouraging everyone, no matter how old they are! My closest competitors are also my closest friends. Sometimes I get a higher score, sometimes they do. We encourage each other no matter what the end result.”
With the 2015 Meijer Winter State Games of Michigan closing in on a month away, Colleen looks to use this experience as a step forward to fulfilling her goal of becoming an Olympic athlete.
The Meijer State Games of Michigan is a multi-sport, Olympic-style event(s) that welcome athletes regardless of age or ability level. The Games embody the values of participation, sportsmanship and healthy living.