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Robin Hood has nothing on Casar archer Anzlee Kilby

If legendary English archer Robin Hood could come back to life and meet up with 15-year-old Anzlee Kilby of Casar, he could probably pick up a few tips to improve his aim.

That's because Anzlee is a highly accomplished competitive bow and arrow athlete with a room full of trophies, medals, and other awards that she's earned at archery events on a local, state, and national level.

Anzlee, a ninth-grader at Pinnacle Classical Academy, was bitten by the archery bug at an early age. Her father, Bobby, was the inspiration.

"I would watch my father shooting targets in the backyard," she said. "I got my first bow when I was five-years-old." It wasn't long before her archery talent manifested itself, as well as the desire to pit her skill against other archers.

"My first contest was in 2018 at Advance, N.C., when I was in fourth grade," she said.

From that initial tournament, there was no turning back. Anzlee estimates that she has taken part in at least 200 events. Places she and her dad and mom Miranda have travelled to are far-flung and include Lancaster, Pa., Cullman, Ala., Metropolis, Ill., and London, Ky. To name a few.

"Some of the tournaments have as many as 2,000 contestants," she said.

Anzlee is a member of several competitive archery organizations. These include the Archery Shooters Association, USA Archery, Junior Olympic Archery Development and Scholastic 3D Archery. She has competed in the Youth Open Girls and Young Adult Female Open categories.

The competitions are held at varied venues. "They can be indoor or outdoor events," she says.

Targets can be anything from paper to life size animals made of Styrofoam-like material."We shoot at everything from hyenas to wart hogs," she says. "The lynx is my favorite.

The type of bow that Anzlee uses is called a compound type. It has a series of pulleys that multiply the force propelling the arrow. One of her favorites is made of carbon fiber and has an optical sight. "It takes about 36 pounds of force to pull back," she says.

Archery can be physically demanding and Anzlee trains for this. "I use things like elastic bands to build up my shoulder blades, back, and muscles," she said.

Coaching is a big part of competitive archery and Anzlee has two- Todd Tongel coach of the PCA Thunderbirds Archery Team, and Guy Hutcherson who is a Level 4 NTS coach and a North Carolina State USA Archery representative.

"I am so proud of Anzlee's dedication to this sport," said Tongel. "She excels in both indoor and outdoor archery events and the dedication and time she puts into archery is simply amazing. I am proud to be her coach and we are proud to have her represent the PCA Thunderbirds Archery Team!"

Hutcherson also had high praise for Anzlee.

"Anzlee is a hardworking, determined, and competitive archer," Hutcherson said. "Coaching her is a joy, and she has natural talent when it comes to archery. It's not too often to come across archers that are coachable and willing to try difficult things. I expect to see her on the world stage eventually, representing the United States."

Like many successful folks who excel at what they endeavor, Anzlee enters another zone when she engages in archery.

"Archery is like an escape from reality," she says. "Every time I go to shoot it just makes me forget about everything else, archery just makes me so happy every time I get to pick up a bow."

Indeed, that concentration, plus Anzlee's skill and work ethic, has seen her win over twenty events including 2023 USA Archery Indoor NC State Championship- 1st place, 2023 USA Archery Indoor NC State Championship- 1st place, 2023 North Carolina JOAD Indoor State Championship- 1st place, 2023 North Carolina S3DA Outdoor Middle School Female Open Championship- 1st place, and the 2023 S3DA North Carolina Middle School Open Female Shooter of the Year all in the last year alone.

Anzlee is fortunate to have the solid backing of her parents in her archery career. Her mother, who is a Nurse Practitioner and owner of Rejouvatour Medical Spa in Shelby had this to say about the family connection.

"As her mom I have seen the ups and downs that come with this sport from the parents' perspective but I have also seen the passion, determination, mental fortitude, and love for the sport of archery shine in my daughter," she said. "Most of all I love seeing the positive relationships this sport has offered her. She has friends that she communicates with in almost every state and when the athletes get on the range amazing things happen while they all want to win, they also want their fellow archers to compete at their very best. Archers don't want to win because someone else had a bad day or a bad shot, they want to win because on that day, at that shoot, they were the stronger shooter. We are a 100% archery family. We travel together, eat together, cry together, cheer together, we support each other not just on the range but in life as well. This is one of the greatest blessings in the world of archery."

So, what does the future hold for Anzlee? Archery will likely be a part of it but helping others is also part of the plan. She's currently taking college prep classes at Pinnacle and is eyeing possible colleges including University of the Cumberland in Williamsburg, Ky., and Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Ky. with the goal of becoming a physical therapist or family doctor.

"I would like to work in the healthcare field," she says. "Archery is in my backup plans."

Just as she did as a young girl, Anzlee still enjoys shooting targets with her father in the backyard, thus bringing her story full circle.

"I love it," her dad says. "When we shoot, we bond."

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