Besides the arrow in his bow, it's hard to find a drawback to Brodie Ellavsky's archery.

Ellavsky, a 15-year-old Princeton sophomore, ranks third in the nation among high school boys in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP). He's the Minnesota champion in both of NASP's competitive categories, 3D and Bullseye, after winning competitions at Rochester in March. That success came with college scholarship money and a lifetime Minnesota fishing and hunting license.

On Thursday he'll begin competing for a national championship in the NASP Centershot Western National tournament in Sandy, Utah. He's a defending champion, having finished first among boys last year in the Centershot Bullseye and 3D categories.

"Feels pretty good, but I know people are coming for me," Ellavsky said. "Still putting in the hard work to make sure that I stay on top."

Ellavsky attended his first archery lesson at Whitcomb's Whitetails in Princeton. While learning the mechanics, he admired the simplicity of the sport, how it gave nobody a competitive advantage.

"When I was shooting freely, it was like time wasn't going as fast; it was simple," Ellavsky said. "So I joined the archery team, and ever since then, I've been in love with it."

Ellavsky attended a few more practice sessions at Whitcomb's before his talent caught the eyes of the shop's owner, Andy Whitcomb, and his wife, Gail.

Andy Whitcomb helped inspire Ellavsky with stories about his own children, including a national champion who paid for college with archery prize money.

Now Ellavsky is shooting with 20,000 competitors in Utah and potentially inspiring younger archers the way he was inspired.

"Brodie is a great representative for younger kids to look up to," Whitcomb said. "For them to see a kid that shoots so well and they get to shoot and rub shoulders right next to him is pretty cool."

And when younger archers show an interest, Ellavsky lends advice.

"I respect him a lot for how much he works with the younger students," Gail Whitcomb said. "He's a very good team leader. Considering he's in 10th grade, he's got that drive."

Throughout training sessions with Andy and Gail, at school or in the shop, the three emphasize one thing: Trust in your bow.

Gail, an archery instructor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, said trust is built by "calming the nerves" and "working through the hiccups."

Ellavsky said he knows his arrow's destination well before he lets go of the bowstring.

"If you have your form down, it's gonna go wherever you want it to go," Ellavsky said. "You just gotta have that trust."