Cooper Davies draws back his compound bow during a competition. Davies will continue to compete in the compound bow division at University of the Cumberlands next year.
When Cooper Davies first picked up a bow, he said he didn’t think much of it.
He went to his first state tournament later that year and came home with first place.
Fast-forward to a few weeks ago, Davies inked his commitment to continue shooting at University of the Cumberlands, a NAIA school with a national reputation for its archery team.
“As long as I can remember my dad has hunted, my brother has hunted,” said Davies, “I always had it on my mind that I wanted to get a bow to hunt with.”
Once he proved to his father he was capable of pulling back the 25-pound draw weight, he found his first bow in hand.
As he got older, Davies continued to compete and train on a family friend’s land where he took on targets from various ranges up to 100 yards.
Last year, he competed in the U.S. Archery Team qualifier series where he placed in three of the four national tournaments he entered.
Though Davies didn’t make the cut for the team, he still has aspirations of making the team again this year.
“When I’m in college, I’ll definitely be doing the same thing – the same tournaments,” said Davies. “Now, I’ll be up an age class, competing against 18-to-21 year-olds.”
For his USAT competitions, Davies competes in Olympic-style events in which he shoots six arrows at a target in hopes of scoring 10 points per arrow.
In the Olympic style events, Davies competes for 12 rounds, shooting a total of 72 arrows over the span of the opening day. The following day, the competition turns into an elimination bracket with qualifiers seeded based on their previous day’s score. Each elimination match on the second day is five rounds, consisting of three arrows per round.
He also competes in 3D events, which are targets molded out of foam and shaped like game animals.
“I really love to do 3D events. It’s one of my favorite styles of tournaments I do,” said Davies. “You walk around and shoot each target at different distances, almost like golf.”
Competing has taken Davies all over the United States, from Southern California to Florida to New Jersey and several places in between.
When he’s not competing, Davies spends hours practicing after school every day and early in the morning on weekends.
Deciding on University of the Cumberlands
The notoriety of the archery program in Williamsburg, Kentucky was one of the leading factors in Davies’ college decision.
“I visited the campus back in February and I fell in love with it,” said Davies. “I actually know a lot of the shooters on the archery team already. … So, I’ll be joining them next year.”
As he continues his archery career, Davies says he’s trying to work on his shot process and execution.
Davies wants to continue working toward his goals of qualifying for the USAT while getting more coaching in college.
The Douglas High senior will continue to compete in the compound bow division.
The team also has archers that compete in recurve, barebow and bowhunter divisions as well.
Once he gets to campus, Davies is deciding between majoring in business or physics.
“It would be cool to start my own business in archery,” said Davies, “but a lot of archery is physics. If I know physics, I maybe can create my own thing.”