CCA student aims for success with national archery competitions
Christian Lurch, an 11th-grader at CCA, calls archery competitions his "happy place" — and plans to turn his passion into a career.
Look out, world. Commonwealth Charter Academy 11th-grader Christian Lurch just earned his silver Olympian pin from USA Archery, and he's gunning for gold during the final round of Nationals on March 10.
Three years ago, Christian picked up a bow and arrow for the first time while visiting a country club and quickly discovered he was a natural. What started as a hobby became a competitive activity when he joined a Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD) team. Today, he is ranked 11th nationally among males his age.
Because it requires a sharp eye and native instinct, the sport proved to be the perfect fit for Christian. Beyond learning technical skills — such as Kentucky windage, which involves adjusting your aim based on the wind — Christian has gained self-motivation and discipline through archery. He has made friends through team practices.
The Lurch family enrolled with CCA two years ago after Christian struggled with not fitting the mold of a typical brick-and-mortar school. "It was like the weight of the world was lifted off his shoulders," said Christina Lurch, Christian's mother. "It's made him more independent and given him time to think about what he wants to do for a career. ... His demeanor and stress level are a hundred times better than when he was in public school. It's been transformative."
CCA's schedule gives Christian the time to pursue his passion for archery. "Thanks to CCA, Christian can log in from anywhere to complete his schoolwork," Christina said.
The activity keeps him busy, with competitions taking place almost every weekend from December to April. Christian spends an average of four hours a day practicing with his three teammates on the JOAD Lancaster team.
“In a regular school environment, he wouldn’t have the flexibility to pursue archery like this,” Christina said. “We usually have three big trips to make it to performances, and travel locally.” The Lurches, who live outside Allentown in Lehigh County, make the drive to Lancaster several times a week.
The many hours Christian spends dedicated to the sport evidently have paid off. He recently competed in the National Field Archery Association Vegas shoot — his first time traveling without his family — and he traveled to Cincinnati on March 18 for the NFAA’s 3-D national championship.
At the NFAA competition, Christian improved his ranking by more than 20 places from last year. He placed 48th out of 95 shooters and placed first in the fourth flight of his division. This competition features 3-D animals instead of traditional targets, adding a heightened challenge for the archers as targets are placed at varying distances.
Christian's acquisition of the silver Olympian pin required him to earn 290 of a possible 300 points. He also recently placed fourth in the Scholastic 3-D Archery Western Nationals, with a score of 293 out of 300.
“Archery gives me a break from everything else that’s going on — it’s my happy place,” Christian said. He also loves the competitive aspect, embracing the inevitable nerves that accompany a contest. “If you’re not nervous, you're doing something wrong.”
Christian currently is in the process of researching colleges and careers, with hopes of becoming a professional archer. He is aiming for a job with the Lancaster Archery Academy - and as his impressive track record shows, if Christian sets his aim on something, he's likely to succeed.