ETHAN JOHNSON

Eighteen-year-old Ethan Johnson, who lives in north Monroe County, placed third in the U.S. in the Men’s Compound Bow division at the U.S. Team Trials in Kentucky last month. (Photos/Regilyn Johnson)

An 18-year-old Monroe County resident will compete for Team USA in the 2019 World Archery 3D Championships in September.

Ethan Johnson was the third qualifier in the Compound Men division at the two-day U.S. Archery Team Trials in London, Ky. on June 19-20. Shooting two arrows each at 24 targets per day, Johnson posted a score of 713, finishing behind only 10-time world champion Jeff Hopkins, who finished with a score of 728, and runner-up James Hale, who finished with a 720.

By virtue of his top three U.S. finish, Johnson will next compete at the six-day World Championships in Lac La Biche, Alberta, Canada on Sept. 2-7.

Johnson, the son of Brent and Regilyn Johnson of north Monroe County, recently graduated from high school and will attend United Methodist-affiliated Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Ky. beginning next month. While Lindsey Wilson, a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) school, does not have a nationally-sanctioned archery team, Johnson will compete for the college’s club squad on an archery scholarship while still regularly shooting at national Archery Shooters Association (ASA) tournaments. He said he thinks archery is tracking toward being an NCAA-sanctioned sport by 2022 since 40 college archery programs have already formed nationwide.

Johnson has only competed competitively in Compound bow 3D archery for six years, having learned to fire a bow and arrow from his father and grandfather on hunting excursions at the age of 5. Johnson’s mother Regilyn said her son really got interested in archery after attending an archery camp at Georgia Southern, where he almost immediately showed great promise.

Johnson said instead of shooting at traditional archery targets like a dartboard bullseye, he gravitated toward 3D archery, which he likened to hunting. In 3D archery, archers fire at three-dimensional foam animals on which there are various scoring rings that account for the archer’s point total. The closer that the shooter, who is typically 60 yards from the target, gets to hitting the center of the target, the higher the score achieved up to a maximum of 11 points per shot.

Johnson said the first qualification round at the World Championships will narrow the competition down to 16 finalists based on the 16 top scores at which point the shooters will then go head-to-head in a one-on-one, single elimination, format to determine the world champion.

Johnson said his trip to Canada will be his first international trip, and he’s looking forward to it. But Johnson said he’s not simply heading up for the experience, saying he’s aiming for a world title victory and hopes to at least achieve a top-three podium result. In preparation for worlds, Johnson said he practices six days a week, firing between 100 to 120 shots on those days. He also does a bit of running and weightlifting for conditioning.

Up until his late teens, Johnson, who was home-schooled, was also a talented baseball player, competing on local travel teams with several current Mary Persons baseball standouts, including Georgia Tech commit Trippe Moore. But Johnson showed such a precocity for compound bow archery that he gave up baseball to pursue archery full-time. Despite the individual nature of the sport, Johnson said there’s great camaraderie amongst the top competitors. But he said he relishes the self-reliance of archery.

“I like the individual aspect of it,” Johnson said. “It pushes me each day. It’s all on me to get it done.”

Johnson is presently selling BBQ tickets to Georgia Bob’s as a fundraiser for his upcoming Canada trip. Persons wanting to buy BBQ tickets can contact Johnson at 706-819-3339. He is also soliciting donations on his Go Fund Me page entitled Ethan’s World 3-D Travel Fund.