LAKELAND, Fla. — There’s a calmness as Bruce Hicks takes aim.
“You have to have full body awareness, you have to know what muscles are tense and what muscles are relaxed and be able to control everything at the same time,” Hicks said.
And manage what is out of his control.
“Wind, rain, humidity, temperature. All that affects your arrow speed, the trajectory. One slight difference, one millimeter, is a couple inches on the target,” Hicks told ABC Action News sports anchor Kyle Burger.
The Florida Polytechnic University senior founded the archery club four years ago after he got hooked on the sport while attending Apopka High School.
The University recently opened a new archery range right on campus.
“I got really competitive with it,” he said. “I realized I didn’t want to stop. I trained really hard during my spring break and the week after that I had a state competition. I got gold and silver in both divisions. I was like, I don’t want to quit.”
Hicks has been slinging arrows for eight years. But his ultimate goal is still about six years away.
“I started training for the Olympics 2024, but college made it a little hard to train. So now 2028 (in Los Angeles),” he said.
While he divides his energy between completing his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and becoming an Olympic athlete, he’s shot up to No. 46 in the national rankings.
“When I was training for the 2024 Olympics I was training 5-6 days a week, an hour or two a day. That’s about 100-150 arrows a day. It’s tiring, it’s exhausting honestly.
“But it’s satisfying being able to see yourself progress day by day and reaching your goal.”
When he graduates in May, he hopes to still coach this team while continuing his training.
“Whether it’s officially or not officially. I started this team. It’s taken me four years to get here. I don’t want to just leave it,” Hicks said.
Florida Poly is currently training to compete at the Sunshine State Games in Newberry, Florida this June.