If you love archery, you’ll find no one more inspirational and well-grounded than 13-year-old Casey Kaufhold.
Casey – who attends Conestoga Valley Middle School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania – enjoys photography, spending time with friends, and playing with her golden retriever, Roxy. She’s a fan of koalas, the new Jumanji movie, and Texas Roadhouse steaks, cooked medium. But her favorite pastime – in between chores, school and homework – is shooting archery.
She’s pretty good at it, too. At the U.S. National Indoor Championships in her hometown Feb. 23 to 25, Casey broke the senior, junior and cadet national records with a 1162/1200 in the female recurve division. She also finished first in the cadet rankings for the 2018 U.S. Archery Team Trials in 2017 at the World Archery Youth Championships in Argentina.
Casey didn’t shoot up to her standards during the finals at the World Championships. Since then, however, she’s shown even more dedication and commitment to archery, said her parents, Rob and Carole Kaufhold, owners of Lancaster Archery Supply.
Perhaps that experience motivated Casey to achieve her recent national record, her biggest accomplishment to date.
“This one was really huge for me,” Casey said. “I was shooting really good scores and knew I could beat the senior record. It was hard, knowing I had a lot of pressure on me, but it was still a lot of fun to do. I had all my friends there with me, which usually doesn’t happen.”
The national record was bound to happen, however, according to one of her coaches.
“We just didn’t know how soon,” said Dick Tone, Casey’s technical adviser and coach. “She’s a unique young lady. She’s very intense. She has goals and she goes after them.”
Although Casey celebrates her successes, she remains more focused on her goals.
“I hope to make the Senior USA team this summer,” Casey said. “That would be really helpful because I’d have the chance to make the World Cup team. Then I hope to qualify for the Olympics.”
Casey’s lifelong supporters are helping her achieve those goals. Her parents introduced Casey and her older brother, Conner, to archery when they were little, and hoped their children would love the sport as much as they do.
Mission accomplished. Casey says archery edges out gymnastics as her favorite sport, but credits gymnastics for teaching her focus, discipline and self-confidence. Conner also competes nationally, and works at the family’s Lancaster Archery Supply Pro Shop, which is a two-minute walk from home. The shop’s location makes it easy and convenient for the Kaufhold kids to practice, and they do at every opportunity.
Their parents said Conner and Casey have exceeded their expectations in archery, and they’re thankful their kids love all aspects of the sport.
“It’s archery all the time,” said Rob, who has worked in the archery business 35 years and shot archery 54 years. “Archery is work and a hobby at the same time. It’s part of our culture at work and at home.”
Rob said Casey and Conner are competitive and have a strong sibling rivalry. “They shoot for the ‘Kaufhold Cup,” he said. “It’s something we kid and laugh about. They compete against each other, and that motivates them. Steel sharpens steel.”
According to Casey’s coaches – which includes her parents – her attitude helps her succeed and sets her apart.
“She’s driven; always wants to better herself, and doesn’t give up easily,” said Heather Pfeil, a Level 4 USA Archery coach. “She puts a lot of work into training. Not only does she shoot hundreds of arrows a day, she’ll do some strength training, and prepares her mental game by visualizing herself shooting in different situations.”
Tone agrees. “Casey’s very coachable,” he said. “She has an open mind and is willing to try things and give them a good effort without making a decision ahead of time whether it’s going to work or not.”
And why does Casey love archery?
“[Archery] is just so easy to fall in love with,” Casey said. “You get to meet people, make friends and learn a lot of new things. Plus, it’s cool to be outside and see all of your surroundings.”
Her favorite part of the sport is traveling to other parts of the country – and the world – for competitions. She also says archery is good exercise, noting that if you shoot 70 meters, you must walk 140 meters to retrieve your arrows and return to the shooting line.
What are Casey’s – and her coaches’ – tips for crushing archery?
– Find a convenient place to shoot, such as your local archery shop.
– Find a qualified archery coach you can trust.
– Practice physically and mentally.
– Surround yourself with inspirational quotes and pictures.
– Acknowledge pressure and think of it positively.
– Work hard and always have fun.
“Casey’s success shows that if a person works hard enough and surrounds themselves with the right coaches, anything is possible as long as the effort and opportunity is there,” Rob said.
Are you feeling inspired? Then get out there and sling some arrows!