Glades County archer competes at nationals

Rebekah Lopez won six medals and came out fourth overall at nationals in Grand Island, Neb.

Rebekah Lopez won six medals and came out fourth overall at nationals in Grand Island, Neb.

Rebekah Lopez represented the Glades County 4-H Archery team well at the nationals in Grand Island, Nebraska this year and did so well, she has dreams of one day being an Olympian in the sport.

The 17 year old won six medals and finished fourth overall in her age division at nationals. She has since moved to Ocala to be closer to the Olympic Training Center. She is dual enrolled at Sante Fe Junior College.

“I love everything about the sport,” Lopez noted, “I’ve made some great progress.”

32 teams from across the nation competed in the nationals and the Florida team finished overall to Missouri.

“It was truly a life changing experience and in a way felt like a mini Olympics,” Lopez said.

She said the sport of archery is really a sport for all ages. She has seen archers start at an extremely young age and older people in their 70s and 80s continue to use their bows.

Lopez started the sport three years ago. She had been very interested in archery shown in movies like Lord of the Rings and Robin Hood and decided to try the sport.

“I totally recommend it for other kids and the other young kids in 4-H. I would like to see the program continue for many years to come and for future generations,” she added.

Lopez was born in Belle Glade and grew up in Clewiston. Since Hendry County doesn’t have an archery team she decided to join the Glades County team and was able to compete in state tournaments with the 4-H program.

Glades County also has hosted a state tournament in archery at the Fish Eating Creek Campground in Palmdale.

She competed at distances of 60 meters. Juniors compete at a distance of 30 meters.

The Lakeport Community Association hosted a fundraiser in May for Lopez and her teammate Emma Cahoon, to help offset some of the costs of travel and participation in the national tournament.

“They raised a lot of money and I very thankful. Everyone was so supportive and really awesome,” Lopez added.

“I thank everybody who was at the fundraiser. Without them, my family and friends, we would not have been able to go to nationals. Their emotional support really helped me and my teammates because it was a mentally tough and emotionally challenging tournament.”

She also enjoyed her experience at nationals because she got to meet other people interested in archery and trade notes. She said the biggest problem at nationals was the gusty winds that made hitting the targets very difficult.

“I felt like I belonged there but I was extremely nervous because I had never done anything like that,” she added.

Lopez intends to pursue a nursing degree in college.

Special to Glades County Democrat

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