Manheim Township grad Stefan Savin on track for selection to USA Archery team in Junior men’s recurve | Outdoors

Stefan Savin took his first introductory class at Lancaster Archery Supply when he was 13. He competed in his first archery event two years later, which explains why he didn’t know competitions were separated by age groups. He ended up competing in the wrong division. Against kids younger than him.

“They still beat me,” Savin recalled.

Savin, now 18, has been on a quick rise in archery since then. After graduating a year early from Manheim Township High School, Savin is days away from departing for Texas A&M University, where he’ll compete for an archery team that’s traditionally considered the best among the collegiate ranks.

Additionally, Savin will soon be one of five in the country named to the 2022 USA Archery National team for the Junior division (ages 17 to 20) in men’s recurve.

“It’s an absolute anomaly,” Lancaster Archery Supply team leader Bryan Brady said of Savin’s rapid progression. “He has an extreme level of enthusiasm. It is impossible to overstate how confident he is. … but that can be a dangerous thing. ”

Brady and his Lancaster Archery Supply colleagues learned that firsthand when Savin broke seven bows before he finally bought his own.

“We were able to fix all but one,” Brady said. “At one point, he made a bow literally explode on him. … I had to create an accident report. ”

What makes Savin’s fast climb in archery even more impressive is the fact he started on a compound bow. He switched to a recurve bow after learning that archery events in the Olympics are only on the recurve.

“He picked it up within three months,” Brady said of Savin learning how to shoot a recurve bow. “That usually takes people years to do. … in recurve your fingers are holding onto the string and you have to learn how to get the fingers off the bow cleanly. I watched him learn how to do that in 10 minutes. ”

Savin finally had his first disappointing performance in 2019, which led to a conversation with Brady at the next practice session.

“What’s your mental game?” Brady asked.

“What’s a mental game?” Savin replied.

“We can think about how we think,” Brady said. “What it means to think, and think your own thoughts and where they’re going.”

Savin ate up the teaching, to the point he now plans to study sports psychology at Texas A&M.

There have also been countless hours on the indoor and outdoor ranges at Lancaster Archery Supply, where Savin now works part-time as an instructor. Though, all that shooting led to tendonitis in Savin’s left shoulder due to overuse, and resulted in him missing most of the 2020 competition season. He has since been gradually building up the strength in the shoulder.

“I’m almost back to 100%,” he said.

Just in time to compete in a mixed doubles event later this month alongside girlfriend Casey Kaufhold, the Conestoga Valley student who recently returned after competing in the Olympics. Could it be a preview of things to come a few years from now?

“My end goal is making the Olympic team,” Savin said. “Ideally the 2024 Olympics.”

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