By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
She may be small in stature, but don’t let that fool you when Nevayah Panther picks up a bow. The 9-year-old EBCI tribal member recently won the state championship at the 2016 N.C. Field Archery Association (NCFAA) State Indoor Championship.
“It’s a pretty cool experience,” she said of competitive archery. “Hitting the bullseye makes you feel comfortable.”
Shooting since she was 4-years-old, Panther took third place at the Indoor Championship event twice before (2013, 2014). When on the line to shoot, she clears her mind and thinks of one thing, “Follow through.”
Archery is definitely in her blood and is a family activity for the Panthers. Her older sister, Kendra, won the NCFAA state indoor championship twice herself (2012, 2013) and her father, Deino, is both an archery instructor and a competitive shooter having placed second (2016) and third (2013, 2014) at recent championships.
“She’s competitive,” Deino said of Nevayah. “She’s as competitive as anyone around here…she’s the type of person that will get out there and practice and practice. It’s her competitive drive that pushes her over.”
He said they enjoy traveling to archery competitions and have traveled to the NFAA Indoor Nationals several times including this year’s event, which was held in Louisville, Ky., where Nevayah placed 16th in the nation. “That was a big accomplishment,” said Deino.
Nevayah practices around three or four times a week and said she would highly recommend the sport of archery for other young people. Deino helps teach archery to young kids and teens at the Big Y Community Center on Tuesdays from 6:30-8pm. He related that the group is open to all interested in the sport.
“We teach safety and fundamentals,” noted Deino who added, “I’d like to see it grow. I’d like to see it in the schools really.”
With Rio 2016 a little more than a month away, the question was posed to Nevayah as to whether she ever thought about the possibility of competing in archery in the Olympics. “Sometimes,” she said smiling from ear-to-ear.