It’s hard to reach the top in any competitive sport. This year was a bit of a surprise to Eaton 8th grader Cheyenne Gregg, who in August took the top spot in the Archery Shooters Association (ASA) Classic in Cullman, Alabama.
It wasn’t her first trip to the top of the podium this year, either. Cheyenne competed in five of the six regional ASA events last summer, and took the championship in each one of them in the Youth Girls division.
She’s been shooting for a long time now, since she was four years old, to be exact, but this year was sort of her coming out party in the world of archery.
“This year, I don’t know what happened,” Cheyenne said. “I don’t know if I just got more motivated, but I went undefeated.”
“She just kind of got in her groove,” said Cheyenne’s mother Loraine in a recent interview.
Though her archery season is year round, the true competitions in the ASA start at the end of January. And her shooting has taken her all over the eastern United States.
She began the 2013 year with a trip to the ASA tournament is Florida. She won that, scoring 383 points (out of 440 possible) with five 12’s, edging out Tara Currie’s 363. That proved to be a pattern with Gregg.
Cheyenne then went to Alabama. Chalk up another win for her. She shot a 392 with seven 12’s there, taking first by four points. Then came Louisiana, Kentucky, and Illinois. Win, win, and win.
She won Louisiana with a 393, shot a 400 to win Kentucky, and put up a 412 to win Illinois.
“She just kind of got in her groove,” Loraine said.
And it all came after she was shaken in the beginning of the year. Hoping to register for one class, she was told that she had to move up, due to her age.
“It was only like five yards, but your bow is set to do one thing, and you’re kind of in shock when they say you have to shoot in another class,” Cheyenne said. “Then I went on and won. I thought, ‘Well, maybe I can do this.’
“By the end, I had goals set, and it came down to the last shot.”
The ASA Classic in Alabama came down to the wire, once again with Currie.
“We were neck and neck the whole weekend,” Cheyenne said. “And I won by the final shot. It was so nerve-wracking. There was probably over 500 people watching me.”
Final scoresheet read Cheyenne Gregg with 414 and Tara Currie with 412. Then the cheers came.
“That cheer, and to know that’s your kid,” Loraine said. “It really came down to that last shot. It was a nail biter. I don’t think I’ve ever sweat so much in my life.”
“I was really excited,” Cheyenne said. “My brother and I had talked about it before, and he gave me motivation. He was the first one I called afterward.”
“I was in total shock when she turned around and found out she won,” Loraine said. “That smile. It was a smile a mom will never forget. She instantly knew she shot her target and shot it the way it needed to be shot.”
Her brother, Kody, has been a big influence in Cheyenne’s shooting. He is currently working on going to the semi-pro level, and he’s been her mentor since they were young.
“He’s been my coach ever since we started this whole thing. I’ve learned everything from him,” Cheyenne said.
She currently shoots for a shop in Springfield called D&R Enterprises. Cheyenne and Kody’s father had gone in shopping for items for bow hunting.
“My brother and I say these guys with competitive bows, and we thought, ‘That looks cool,’” Cheyenne said. “We just kind of sprung into it.”
Since then, it’s been a year round affair for the Gregg family. Cheyenne works through the summer and into the winter. In the summer, she’ll spend between six and seven hours a day working on her shooting. In the fall and winter, she’ll spend at least a few hours each day, between school, volleyball, and keeping wrestling stats.
Next year, things will be a bit different. Cheyenne will be the one with the bullseye on her back (no pun intended), and there will be some huge expectations. But she’s not taking it lightly.
“I have a chart that I set my goals out on,” she said. “Hopefully, I’ll go to Florida for the first shoot, win that, and keep going.”
Cheyenne said her ultimate goal is to hit the pro level before age 20. Coming off the ASA’s Shooter of the Year honor, she’s well on her way.
“I know I can get there if I push harder,” she said.