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Arizona Archer Interview from the 29th World University Games (Taipei 2017)

posted Sep 21, 2017, 5:21 PM by Kristy Wapniarski   [ updated Sep 21, 2017, 5:33 PM ]
Arizona Archer, Paeton Keller, recently returned from the 29th Summer Universiade competition held in Taipei Taiwan in August 2017. Mr. Keller competed with the Men's Compound USA Team. 

We were fortunate enough to 'sit down' with Mr. Keller and pick his brain during an interview with questions that were submitted by local archers, coaches & parents in the community.


Q: How old are you? 


Q: How long have you lived in Arizona?

A: I have lived in Arizona all my life, growing up in Northern Phoenix then moving to Flagstaff to complete my Bachelors at Northern Arizona University.

How long have you been involved in archery?

A: I started shooting a bow about 12 years ago, but competitively until just before leaving for college.

Q: Do you shoot with a club? Which one?

A: The closest to a club I have been involved in was upon joining the Northern Arizona University Archery Club and Team.

Q: Do you have a private coach you train with?

A: I have never had a private or team coach, and have almost exclusively trained alone.

Q: What was your first experience shooting a bow?

A: My first experience shooting a bow was when I had the urge to make my own bow in my back yard. It consisted of a ¾” dowel which I soaked to get it to bend, then used simple string to top it off. This was a crude start into archery, but my interest sparked those around me to help me into the sport of archery.

Q: Do you participate in any other types of archery besides target?

A: Archery for me started with bow hunting and has been the backbone of my urge to become more accurate and more effective hunter. Once starting in bow hunting, I transition into shooting local 3d purely for fun. After a few years of solely trying to hone my skills for hunting, I began to try to gain experience to be better than those I shot with and that lead me into shooting in small shoots.

Q: When did you know you wanted to be a competitive archer?    
A: After my second actual compound bow, I knew I had the potential to shoot better than most people I met, which is when the lure of competition began.

 What kind of set up do you shoot?

A: For competition, I compete in the compound division. I use a Prime ONEstx36v2 (60lb/29.25”) with FirstString strings, BeeStinger stabilizers, Axcel sight, AAE rest, Easton x10 ProTour arrows, and Scott Sigma release. I have been shooting for Prime for a few years now have become very confident with their bows in hand.

For hunting, I use the Prime Centergy Hybrid (80lb/29.5”) with BeeStinger Stabilizers, Axcel sight, Trophy Taker rest, Easton Axis arrows, TightSpot quiver, and Scott Sigma release.

Q: Have you always shot compound?

A: I have always competed with a compound bow, but actually began in the Bowhunter division in my first two years of competition. My strive for more accuracy naturally lead me into the open compound division which I have thoroughly enjoyed. I also have recurve bows that I use just for fun and practice.

To date, what World level competitions have you participated in?

A: As of today World level competition that I have competed in include many years of the Vegas shoot, 28th World University Games in Gwangju South Korea (2015), World University Championships in Ulaanbaatar Mongolia (2016), as well as the 28th World University Games in Teipei Taiwan (2017) most recently. My top performance was at the World University Championships in Mongolia with an individual Bronze as well as a team Bronze with David McNealy and Garrett Abernethy.


Q: What does it take to get to this level of competition e.g. What is your practice schedule like each week/month, level of dedication, etc? Is there anything you would do different to help prepare you better for this level of competition?   Do you take time off during the year?

A: To get to this level of competition it takes a lot of work. As far as practice is concerned I feel that I need to be practicing as soon as the last indoor tournament ends for outdoor season. This allows me to train physically for shooting more arrows at each tournament, maintain muscle memory, and constantly improve my form and mental game. I do not have a set schedule or number of arrows per week due to my busy schedule with school and work. Sometimes I am able to shoot at least an hour every day, while other weeks I may only practice once, but it requires dedication to shoot the most (and most effectively) you can.

If I could go back in preparation for this competition, I would have turn my focus from getting to shoot every day, to focusing on improving and perfecting each and every shot, one at a time. I feel that I had started going out to practice with the mind set of just being able to shoot, which ultimately dulled my shooting in the weeks prior to the competition.

I do take of late August through September from shooting due to Archery season here in Arizona and as a “cool down” from outdoors season, even though competition is still always on my mind.


Q: What's your favorite part of being able to travel to international destinations to compete?

A: My favorite part of being able to travel to international competitions is the experience, nerves, and connections I make. There is a lot of pressure on international competitors to perform the best in foreign and unfamiliar conditions which helps me tremendously for future competitions as well as non-archery related aspects of my life. The people you meet help make the sports that much more enjoyable and help you train harder.


Q: What's your least favorite? 

A: My least favorite part of international travel is trying to re-assimilate into a normal sleep schedule when I return, it is always difficult.

Q: What did you expect or not expect about your experience while traveling & participating in this international competition?   

A: Because I already have experience with international competition, I felt that I had a great grasp of what to expect throughout the whole trip. This helped me plan my sleep schedule beforehand, what I really did and did not need to bring, and what to be prepared for. However, for this trip to Taipei, I did not expect the weather that I was met with once arriving. We had been warned about rain and mosquitoes, but upon arrival I found there to be no mosquitos and we only had rain one day while there. What was truly unexpected was the immense humidity, with temperature in the 90-95 degree range and humidity ranging from 85 to 90 percent. I had never shot in conditions quite like it, and was very different from Flagstaff where I have been practicing for the last four years.

Q: What's your number one tip you have for aspiring archers that are interested in pursuing World teams?    

A: My best tip for aspiring archers who wish to compete on World Teams is to compete in as many local and national tournaments as you can. This will not only help you become a better archer, but will prepare you for the difficulties in traveling to compete.

Q: What kind of funding is provided for archers regarding their travel, lodging, food, etc during these events?

A: As far as this trip is concerned with USA Archery, all of my required flights were taken care of as well as competition wear throughout the trip. Once in Taipei, travel to and from the airport and event venues were organized by FISU and the local organization. Lodging consisted of an athlete’s village for the thousands of athletes, with three wings each consisting of 10-15 20 story apartment buildings. Food was provided at the athlete’s cafeteria. All other travel and food outside of necessary competition requirements was placed on the individual athletes to fund. USA Archery Arizona is also great with providing aid to the Arizona archers who travel to compete, which helps tremendously for small cost while traveling like food, as well as auxiliary adventures while abroad.

This trip was well funded, however that is not always the case with international competition. I have been on teams that I was required to pay my way to get to the international departure location.

Q: Do you share lodging space with other teammates while traveling?

A: At the competitions I have attended, archers have shared lodging with one another. Depending on the size of the hotel/apartment that are set up for athletes, all the males, or just the male compound team stay in the same room / apartment. The World University Games are quite unique in that USA has more than just an archery team, and the whole USA team will share an Apartment building. This is exciting because it allows us to interact with other athletes of different sports.

Q: How does the coaching support work during these events? Do you get to work with your private coach, an assigned coach/team manager/etc? Do you feel supported by these members?

A: At these events, there are usually coaches for each division (4 total) with two to three more team managers and coaches. I am not sure exactly how travel with a private coach works, but I do know that there was one who traveled with us to Taipei, so it is an option. With the lack of experience of coaches interacting with the archers, it is generally up to each archer to convey what coaching they do or don’t want to receive. No matter what, the coaching staff that I have been able to travel with have been some of the nicest people to work with and are extremely helpful, not only in a coaching aspect, but in helping in any way throughout the duration of the trip and even after.

Q: Have you found that more sponsorship opportunities have presented themselves as a result of making world teams?

A: International competition always helps lead to more sponsorship opportunities. While I have not gained any more sponsors, there have been more available. In addition, the experience and connects one makes on these trips can be worth more than sponsorships.

Q: What was the highlight of your experience at this competition? What was the least enjoyable part of the experience?

A: One of my favorite experiences of this competition was how Chris, Adam, and myself came back after all having disappointing eliminations to come back and perform well with one another in the Team eliminations. It just goes to show that archery is a very mental sport and going into the day with the right attitude can determine the effectiveness of the day.

Q: Did you feel supported by your teammates that were a part of the USA team?

A: The archery community in general is a very supportive organization and the friendships you make on an international trip are often more supportive that within a local club.

Not only are the USA teammates supportive, but all the archers in general are. For example, during eliminations the rear stabilizer mount on my bow sheared off during the 4th end. With no time to replace the mount, Team Italy’s Jocopo Polidori offered me his backup bow to finish the match without hesitation. This goes to show the friendliness and helpfulness of all archers from all countries.

Q: Do you like the new team uniforms that were worn at the event? Are they comfortable and easy to shoot in?

A: The new Team USA Archery Uniforms were great. They are unique in comparison to most of the other counties and really stand out, which I enjoy. I also liked the transition to the blue UA shorts, they are more comfortable to shoot in for me personally. I originally was worried about shooting in the new shirts with the zippered collar because it tends to stick up no matter what, but it ended up working out just fine.

We want to thank Paeton Keller for taking the time to answer all of our questions and for providing all of the photographs from the event and travels to Taipei that were included with this interview.