As a ninth-grader he was into skateboarding, lived on a street called Broken Arrow and thought archery was boring. But when his parents opened Arrowsmith Archery, he wanted a job in the store.
Now, only three years after taking up a bow, 17-year-old Justin Huish won the intermediate age division last week at the National Archery Assn.'s Outdoor Target Championships.
The Simi Valley High School graduate placed first among 30 teen-agers ages 15 to 17 during the tournament in Oxford, Ohio. The four-day event is the biggest and most important Olympic-style archery tournament in the nation, said Lloyd Brown, Huish's coach.
"It was excellent shooting on his part and a personal best," said Nancy Myrick, the association's administrator of national tournaments and youth programs.
Huish's score would have placed him sixth among 94 adults in the senior division, she said.
To put his victory into context, Myrick said that in one round Huish only scored six points behind the top adult division archer, Ed Eliason, former member of the Olympic World Archery Team and three-time winner of the association's National Outdoor Target Championships.
Based on his score, Huish has qualified for the association's 1993 Junior Elite Team. The 12-member team will attend two training camps and has been invited to compete in the European Youth Festival next month in Olympia, Greece.
But Myrick said additional criteria, including results of a 12-minute aerobic fitness test, must be compiled before the team is officially named this week.
The association holds four major tournaments a year to qualify archers for the Junior Elite Team. Archers score points by shooting a limited number of arrows from 30, 50, 70 and 90 meters into a 10-point bull's-eye measuring six inches in diameter.
"Last year three members of the Jr. Elite Team were out of Arrowsmith," said Huish's mother, Ona, who coaches archery.
"I went to Arizona for the Olympic trials in May, but I missed the cut by 18 points," said Huish, who is training for the 1996 Olympics.
This fall, Huish will enter Arizona State University on an archery scholarship. He plans to major in accounting and continue his training as a member of the university's top-ranked archery team under the direction of Sheri Rhodes, coach of the 1988 Olympic team.
But for now, Huish looks forward to competing in Greece. And he is breaking in his new National Target Championship belt buckle.
"I just couldn't miss," he said. "No matter what I did, the arrow went in the middle. But I wasn't shooting to my potential. They say it takes seven or eight years before you do that."