New Prague archer Callie Schroeder has found a happy place, and a state championship.
Callie Schroeder, a ninth-grader at New Prague High School, is the 2014 NASP (National Archery in the Schools Program) Minnesota state champion. Her score of 296 out of a possible 300, a personal best, was the highest among the more than 1,100 boys and girls grades 4-12 at the state tournament in Champlin in March.
Callie Schroeder isn’t always sure where she’s going, but she knows where she wants to be.
Where she needs to be.
Perhaps that place is in Louisville, Ky., site of next month’s National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) national tournament. Based on her 296 score — out of a possible 300 — and overall championship performance at the Minnesota state tournament in late March, the New Prague ninth-grader could be considered a top national title contender.
Schroeder understands why she wears a contender’s tag. After all, in Kentucky — the birthplace of NASP and a state that embraces archery like Minnesota does hockey — this year’s girls’ state champion did no better than equal Schroeder’s state-title total.
But she’s not ready to embrace that label and the pressure that comes with it. It takes her too far away from that place she needs to be. And that place is not about pressure. It’s about fun.
“I don’t feel a lot of pressure to do better than  at nationals,” she said. “The national is such a big tournament that [the mind-set] really is just shooting for fun.”
That sounds like Schroeder’s kind of place. A happy place. A pressure-free place. And, come to think of it, a place that she has had to create and not merely visit.
If she hadn’t learned that lesson before, the state tournament was a perfect classroom.
“I don’t like to look at the scores before I shoot because it kind of screws up my thinking,” she said.
“I overheard someone say the high score for a high school female was 294, and that was really nerve-racking. I took a couple of deep breaths and pretended I never heard it.”
There’s no room for worry and pressure in Schroeder’s happy place.
“When you’re happy, you shoot well,” she said. “I just made myself happy.”
And happy for Schroeder is “hanging out with friends” such as teammates Bella Schulte and Jeremy Schmid.
Her 296 score was five points higher than her previous best, set in winning the regional tournament three weeks earlier. The accomplishment was, indeed, born of more than attitude and outlook.
A near-miss at a state championship in the middle school division last year — she was only one point behind the winner — ignited her competitive fire, said Brian Schroeder, Callie’s father and the New Prague middle school team coach.
“This whole season she’s really ramped up,” Brian Schroeder said. “She’s put in a lot of time. She’s shooting at least three days a week besides the Thursday and Sunday practices.”
The proof of her dedication is in the results. In her first tournament this season, Schroeder shot a 273 and placed 10th among high school girls. She has won each tournament since.