Margaret Hargett, a 15-year-old Payson High School honor student, has shot her way onto the United States Junior Olympic archery team.
For her, making the team is the culmination of years of practice and dedication.
"One of my biggest dreams has been to be a member of the Junior Olympic team and compete in Europe," she said.
The team will represent the U.S. in the Eighth Annual Junior World Outdoor Target Championships July 18 to 24 in England. There, the U.S. team will compete against junior squads from other countries including Japan, Korea, Canada, Australia, Spain, Great Britain and France.
Hargett earned her spot on the U.S. squad at the 2004 Junior World Team Trials June 4 to 6 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
A record six teenagers from Arizona were on the 32-member U.S. team. The other Arizona team members are from Scottsdale, Glendale and Tucson.
The trials opened Friday morning at Desert Peak Recreation Complex with a practice day and a pizza party at a nearby hotel.
On the first day of competition, the country's elite archers competed in both Olympic and compound bow categories.
Hargett won her spot on the team in the compound bow division.
On the second day, the field of 200 Junior Olympic Archery Development members was trimmed to 64 for a round robin. The round robins consisted of head-to-head competitions against all other archers in their division. The matches also accounted for one-half of the tournament ranking.
At day's end, the top four individuals in each division were awarded a spot on the 2004 U.S. Junior Olympic team.
In winning her berth, Hargett finished third overall.
The team will be coached by Arizona's Mark Penaz and Alexander Kirillov.
The championships are to be held at the United Kingdom National Sports Center in Lilleshall, England. Visiting there should give Hargett a good look at places she will be studying in her PHS world history class.
Just down the road from Lilleshall is Ironbridge --he birthplace of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century.
While in England, the team will reside at Harper Adams Agricultural University College which is located about five miles from the National Sports Centre.
Champ in the making
Hargett's interest in archery began about seven years ago when she first picked up a bow and began shooting with her family who are all avid archers.
"It seems like that's the kind of the thing I was supposed to do," she said.
Although she also enjoyed playing the guitar, fishing and riding her horse in gymkhanas, it was archery that was her first love.
Competing in 3D and Federation of International Target Archery (FITA) competitions around the state, she soon built a reputation as a promising young archer.
In February 2003, she finished second at the Desert Triple Crown 3D shoot in Williams.
At the Arizona state FITA championships at Ben Average Range, she won first place in the women's compound division.
Also in 2003, she shot her way to a gold medal in the Arizona State championship and the 3D Desert Triple Crown in Apache Junction.
This year, she won the Desert Triple Crown and finished third in the World Archery festival held in Las Vegas. At a 3D tournament at Clint's Wells in February, she emerged the overall winner.
When not competing on the Junior Olympic Archery Development circuit, she enjoys hunting with her parents, Robert and Elizabeth.
One of her biggest hunting thrills was bagging a javelina and having a chance to bag a wild turkey during a hunt in Texas.
"The wind was blowing too much and we didn't want to just injure the turkey," her dad said.
Although doing well in the World Championships is Hargett's immediate goal, she eventually hopes to earn a scholarship to a university and major in civil engineering.
The road to England
It will take a large sum of money for 15-year-old Margaret Hargett to represent Payson and her country in the Eighth Annual World Outdoor Target Archery Championships in Lilleshall, England.
There will be the costs of round-trip travel to England and room and board during the seven days of competition
Hargett and her parents are planning fund-raisers to help defray the costs of the trip.
An account has been opened at the Payson branch of the Bank of America where sponsors can make contributions. Simply drop by the Bank and say you'd like to help Hargett.
For more information, call Hargett or her parents at (928) 468-1461.