What do you want to be when you grow up?An archer
What is your favorite food?Tandoori shrimp and ribs
What is your weird talent? Being able to bend his tongue in three places.
Who inspires you and why? Brady Ellison, an Olympic archer, because he’s doing what he loves and he’s really good at it and he’s only 19.
When first meeting Crete resident Alex Wifler, he looks like a normal 14-year-old boy with a goofy smile, a fondness for humorous T-shirts and unruly hair stuffed underneath a baseball cap. But his normal appearance hides an extraordinary talent for archery.
Alex’s experience with archery started just three years ago when his cousins sparked his interest with their own bows. About 10 months later, Alex won the state aggregate, setting a record, and went on to place third at nationals. Now he spends much of his time traveling to archery competitions both in the United States and abroad, including becoming the junior world champion last year at the World Indoor Archery Championship in Germany.
"It’s such a family sport," says Alex’s mom, Chris, who goes to every competition with her son. "Everyone is very approachable and they help each other out."
Although he simply says that he "loves the travel" associated with tournaments, Alex’s eyes light up as he talks about going everywhere from Arizona to Montreal to compete, calling many of the people he meets friends.
"It’s been a blast," says his mom. "It’s so much fun seeing him grow in the sport."
Although he certainly has a natural talent for archery, Alex works hard for all of those tournament wins—he averages four to five hours of practice a day, shooting 200 to 300 arrows. The ultimate goal? The 2009 Youth Archery World Championships in Utah in July, the main qualifier for the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. From there, it’s hopefully on to the 2016 or 2020 Olympics.
All the practice and competitions may seem like a lot of pressure for a teenager, but Alex certainly doesn’t show any signs of strain.
"I occasionally get tired of it, so I’ll take a day off," he says. "But I keep going because I want to win."
When you ask about Alex’s plans for the future, all he talks about is archery. Thankfully, it’s a sport without an age limit.
"I know people who are 80 and still doing it," he says proudly as his mom recalls one archer in particular who is still competing at 85.
While he’s a long way from 85, it’s clear Alex doesn’t plan on leaving the world of archery any time soon.
Do you know a great kid age 14 and under who’s done something amazing? E-mail names and information firstname.lastname@example.org.
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