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MailTribune.com
  • Bull's-eye

    Medford teen scores his first national archery championship
  • Justin Goslin focuses on the Bigfoot standing 50 yards away, imagining the perfect kill shot as he draws back his bow and sets his sight on success.
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  • Justin Goslin focuses on the Bigfoot standing 50 yards away, imagining the perfect kill shot as he draws back his bow and sets his sight on success.
    He steadies his breath and lets loose the arrow, and then a second. Both find the orange dot on the Bigfoot's fur for a perfect score of 22 points from these longest shots of the day.
    "Bigfoot's a fun target to shoot," says Goslin, 14, of Medford. "It's definitely one of a kind."
    Certainly different than sticking two arrows from four yards away into a circle the size of a 50-cent piece painted on a fake, foot-long butterfly.
    Goslin nailed those shots as well and shot perfectly at two of every three targets over two days last month to win his first national archery title, and now he's setting his sights on earning a youth spot on the U.S. national archery team.
    Goslin won the Marked Three-Dimensional national title May 5 at the National Field Archery Association championships in Redding, Calif., and now he's prepping for a strong enough showing at a July tournament in South Dakota to represent the United States against the world's best youth archers in Buenos Aires later this year.
    Goslin hopes the discipline and focus that won him the national title for shooting at marked — or set and defined yardage — 3-D targets will carry over to the unmarked targets during the next tournament, where he'll have to judge distance for himself.
    "All I have to do is concentrate on my arrow and my rest," says Goslin, a Hedrick Middle School eighth-grader. "When you just shoot and don't worry about the scores, that's when you're best. If not, you'll shoot an arrow you won't be happy with."
    Goslin's supporters expect he'll be plenty happy at that next tournament in Yankton, S.D.
    "You have to focus 100 percent on that target and that arrow," says Ron Goslin, his dad and fellow archery competitor. "He's tremendous at that."
    Goslin's success so early in his archery career comes from his natural abilities with a bow and his strong family support in this sport, says Mike Blaschka, owner of DewClaw Archery Supplies in Medford and a Goslin sponsor since 2007.
    "It's fairly unique at his age to see so much dedication and passion for the sport," Blaschka says. "He's just phenomenal. He can be really something special if he stays with it."
    Archery has been something special for the Goslins since Ron fashioned Justin's first bow for him at age 3. He started shooting conventional bows at age 5 and by age 10 he was in competitions around the valley.
    Goslin exploded on the Oregon front in 2010 by winning the state's archery freestyle youth Triple Crown of the state indoor, field and 3-D championships.
    But his showing at the national Marked 3-D Championship on May 5-6 in Redding easily eclipsed his best tourney to date.
    In these tournaments, archers shoot two arrows at each of 50 targets on the first day and 25 targets on the second. The targets are typically big-game imitations of animals such as deer, elk, cougar, bear and mountain goats.
    Most of the targets in the youth division are at 20 to 35 yards, with the shortest the 4-yard butterfly and the longest the 50-yard Bigfoot. The targets have a bull's-eye inside a larger circle, and the sizes differ based on the size of the animal.
    Bull's-eyes register 11 points, while shots in the larger circle garner 10 points and shots that hit the target outside of the circles earn 8 points.
    In Redding, Goslin registered no 8-point shots and no misses, racking up 1,486 points out of a possible 1,540 points, his best tournament tally by at least 75 points, he says.
    He led the first day by six points and stretched that to a 10-point overall victory, while following his strategy of thinking just arrows and targets — not scores.
    Well, most of the time.
    "Always, in the back of your mind, you think, man, I wonder what that guy shot at that target," Goslin says.
    The road to national archery championships follows the same path violinists take to Carnegie Hall.
    "He'll shoot 100, 150 arrows a night in the garage just to get his form down," Ron Goslin says.
    Goslin's practice habits have also translated well to hunting. He shot his first bull elk last fall, a 4-by-5-point bull at 35 yards that he calls his biggest adrenaline rush of his life.
    But whether he's aiming at a big bull in the woods, a Bigfoot or a butterfly, Goslin relishes every arrow he lets loose.
    "I love the sport," he says. "You can get really competitive and feel that natural high.
    "It's definitely a confidence-booster, overall."
    Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email mfreeman@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MarkCFreeman.
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