When Blaise Cox focuses on a target he usually hits it. His latest goal has led to him being one of the top 10 compound 4-H archers in the nation.

Cox, a 2017 Penn Yan Academy graduate, competed in the national competition in Nebraska in June, and brought home honors for ninth place in the 3D shooting competition and 14th place in FITA, a form of target shooting competition used in international and world championship events.

Cox, 18, the son of Dundee Trap Shooting Team Coach Angie Cox, and Penn Yan Trap Shooting Team Coach Ted Cox, has been an archer since he was about 8 or 9. He began participating in 4-H shooting sports and competitions at about six years ago, taking on competitors in a league at Seneca Lake Duck Hunters and in competition at Branchport Rod  & Gun Club.

He eventually challenged himself to compete in the New York State 4-H competition, and says he did “OK” the first year. The second and third years, he improved his results, and in his fourth year in 2017, he finished third in the New York State meet, qualifying for the national competition, where he faced 99 other archers from around the country.

The national competition, held in Nebraska, earlier this month, involved three days of shooting competitions. The FITA competition took over five hours on the first day to complete with 50 people on the line, shooting from 60 meters, then 50 meters, 40 meters, and closer positions, firing over 140 arrows. “It’s a very long day,” said Cox, adding that the challenge included making compensations for gusty winds. He tied for 14th place with 15 other archers.

The second day’s event was the field archery competition. Although he has practiced field archery and reviewed the rules, this was the first time he competed in the event. In this event, archers aim at different size targets from different angles.  He didn’t notice his bow’s sight was slightly askew until part way through the competition, which influenced his results.

His big success in the 3D competition came on the third day when he finished in ninth place, just 4 points away from third place.

In all, the experience is one he’ll remember for a long time. “It was cool meeting the other people ans shooting against them,” he said.

Cox, who is still involved in Yates County 4-H, exhibiting recently at the Yates County Fair, but this was his last year of competing in the shooting sports. However, he will continue to shoot archery, and perhaps become an instructor or coach. He says archery is a great sport to get involved in because it is relaxing and there’s no need to invest a lot of money to get started. He’ll stay involved in some competitions, perhaps moving up in the ranks of competitors.

He is employed at the Keuka Lake State Park, and is studying Fish & Wildlife Technology at FLCC with an ultimate goal to work for the State Department of Environmental Conservation.