Ethan Park '23 Aims for Continued Success in Archery
Three-time North Carolina Archery Champion Ethan Park '23, first took up archery because it was a sport that he could share with his father. His dad, Dr. Robert Park, got interested in archery after watching the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. When his father began working with renowned archery coach Alexander Kirillov, who has led multiple students to compete at the highest levels, including the Olympics, Ethan tagged along. He got his first bow at age 8 and began competing in 2014 at age 10.
Ethan's family moved from Arizona to North Carolina when he was 2 Ethan attended Carolina Day School and then Rainbow Commuinty School. At Carolina Day School he started a Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD) program; he continued to shoot there until he enrolled at Christ School.. Having joined Christ School this year in 8th grade, he hopes to do the same here. To give Christ School a taste of the sport, his father and Coach Kirillov along with Coach Parham sponsored an archery enrichment this fall.
Although Ethan played on the JV soccer team this fall, he still practiced archery to stay sharp. "I keep all my stuff inside a case with a bow that's easy to assemble and disassemble," said Ethan. Ethan now practices at the newly opened Asheville Archery Training Center, a club dedicated to competition archery near the Outlet Mall on Brevard Rd in Asheville.
According to Ethan, archery is more complicated than it looks. "It all depends on the poundage," (how many pounds you are pulling when you draw) said Ethan. "I've worked up to 25 pounds." When he shoots, he hears his father and coach saying, "Shoot your normal shot." Otherwise it's easy to think too much about hitting the bull's eye. "If you think that way, your form will fall apart," said Ethan. Over the years, as Ethan has advanced to new age divisions, the distance from the target has grown as well. "Right now, I'm shooting 60 meters. In the Olympics it's 70meters (77 yards or ¾ the length of a football field)."
Although Ethan will be eligible to try out for the 2020 Olympics, he has many tournaments to win between now and then. "My goal is to try to do better and better and to establish a program her at Christ School, because a lot of kids haven't heard of the sport, but when they see the bow they get interested," said Ethan. "Archery is a sport that is all about time, precision, and accuracy. If you think that all you have to do is draw back the bow and let go of the string and it's always going to land in the middle of the target, then I wish you good luck."