Sydney Clardy Is Hendersonville’s Young Archery Phenom.

by | Feb 2024

SYDNEY CLARDY is a high school sophomore who saw her shot at something great and decided to take it. Now, she holds fifth place in the USA Archery team’s national rankings. To Clardy, her involvement with archery seemed like a logical progression. 

“My family has always been very outdoorsy. I had a [child-sized] bow when I was really little that I played around with when we were camping. But I didn’t do that very much,” she explained.

That changed when Clardy entered the seventh grade.

“There was the option of an archery sports program. I saw that and thought it would be interesting. I shot for school that year. The coach told us if we wanted to get any extra lessons, there was a nearby team in Gallatin. I went there just to get some extra practice in. The coach of that team saw me shooting and immediately wanted to put me in a barebow as soon as possible and get me shooting out of school.”

A barebow is a traditional type of bow that is typically more difficult to shoot because of its simplicity and lack of accessories to aid in aiming.

“After a few months, I started shooting for Scholastic 3-D Archery, a scholastic archery program that runs all across the country. Each state has its own. I started shooting outside of school and fell in love with it. Through Scholastic 3-D Archery, I’ve met lots of amazing people. And it’s grown from there.” 

And grown it has, by leaps and bounds. Clardy’s dedication is evident.

“Right now, I’m practicing two to three times a week. When I go to my team’s archery shop, I usually spend at least an hour and a half practicing. I’m also doing tournaments on the weekends, which can last about three or four hours. I don’t shoot the whole time; we get some breaks. If I’m staying at home, then I’ll usually shoot for around the same time.” 

There is also an intensive national and regional tournament schedule. 

“There’s a Southeastern one that happens in Kentucky. I’ve been to Des Moines, Iowa; I’ve been to Arizona; I went to Florida. I’ll be going to Michigan for a national this upcoming year. I went to Pennsylvania for a really big tournament in Lancaster. I’m also going to Las Vegas, which has a huge national tournament.” 

Clardy maintains a scholastic average that hovers in the 3.9-4.0 range. This is a remarkable achievement for any high school student, especially for one with such an arduous training schedule. 

“It’s definitely challenging. I have to manage my time really well. Luckily, most of my teachers are very understanding. I miss a lot of school going to these national tournaments. A lot of times, I have to leave before the end of the week. My teachers are really great about working with me when it comes to stuff like that. A lot of my family time is spent at archery tournaments. Sometimes, other family members can come and watch. I can spend time with my family on the holidays when we’re not doing anything. There are also slow times in archery when we get a little break between seasons.” 

Despite long hours spent training and traveling, Clardy still makes time to feel like a “regular teenager” outside of school and sports. 

“Luckily, my practice schedule is pretty flexible. I don’t have to practice on certain days every week. I can switch practice days around and work it in to get some time with my friends. I’m lucky that I do get some time to spend with my friends outside of archery. When I’m doing archery — as far as tournaments go — I’m seeing a lot of my archery friends. It doesn’t take too much of a toll on me.” 

Clardy’s ability to attend tournaments comes partially in the form of community involvement and sponsorships from local businesses. 

“Going to these tournaments — especially the ones that are really far away — there are not only travel expenses but also entry fees and paying for equipment. It’s a lot of money,” she explains. 

Clardy is already anticipating a rewarding college career. Archery is something she loves, and the dedication comes naturally. There are some exciting times ahead for her as her talent and determination propel her toward the future, like an arrow in the bow of life. Bull’s-eye! GN 

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