Ex-Maverick Captains Olympic Archery Team

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Former Rim Country Middle School student Brady Ellison is going to Beijing.

The 19-year-old will be in the city as the lead member of the U.S. Archery Team competing in the 2008 Olympic games.

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Brady Ellison

Ellison nailed down a spot on the three-person team during archery trial finals held May 4 at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility near Phoenix.

Among those on hand to cheer Ellison on were his grandparents, Alesha and John Calderwood of Payson.

"It was so exciting, and Brady did really well," Alesha said. "We are now planning on going to Beijing to see him there."

At the Phoenix trials, Ellison won the competition as he did in the first two "selection shoots" held earlier this year at Chula Vista, Calif. and Conyers, Ga.

As the first-place finisher in all three events, Ellison can stake claim to the unofficial title of America's best archer.

Other members of the U.S. men's team set to compete in Beijing are Butch Johnson and Vic Wunderle who were 8.12 and 1.12 points behind Ellison.

Johnson will be competing in his fifth Olympics, and Wunderle in his third.

The 2008 Olympics will be held Aug. 8 to Aug. 24.

Alesha Calderwood said most in attendance at the Phoenix trials were optimistic the USA team would contend for a medal. "Most everyone feels the team is very, very good," she said.

Ellison attended Payson Elementary School and Rim Country Middle School before moving about six years ago to Glendale.

There, he lived with his mother and stepfather, Mel Nichols, who has a full archery range set up in his back yard.

He eventually moved to Chula Vista where he is a resident athlete at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

For Ellison, growing up in Payson was the stuff young boys dream of.

"I remember Payson as a small town where you could ride your bike out into the forests and shoot or do about anything you wanted to," he said. "I had a lot of fun there."

The Rim Country also served as a training ground for the young archer.

"It was there my dad taught me to (archery) hunt," he said.

Among the big game hunts he recalls going on with his father, an avid hunter and a taxidermist, was an outing for bear.

"I was about 11 (years old); it was one of my first hunts."

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