Thwack!

Her missile meets its goal.

Deslauriers was turning 12 a year ago this March, and she decided she wanted a bow to maybe go hunting with her dad, Michael. The Oak Hill Middle School honor student visited Central Maine Archery in Auburn and was hooked.

“I saw this girl at the range, and she was shooting really good, and I wanted to be like her,” Deslauriers said. “Soon I got better than her, and it sparked something in me.”

She joined the Junior Olympic Archery Development program and started working with other top state archery shooters the Central Maine Archery program has produced.

One year later — that is, one year after picking up a compound bow for the first time — in her young life, she already has broken one state record that has stood since 2011 in the National Field Archery Association’s youth female freestyle.

“It was my birthday. I really wanted to do it, and I thought it would be a really good present,” Deslauriers said. “I was in the bottom of my age group, and I was shooting against 14-year-olds, you know, freshmen in high school.”

Despite the pressure of that day, Deslauriers walked to the line and was able to shoot a perfect 300 points. Then she added 46 Xs, or 46 bull’s-eyes, which are used as the tiebreaker when a competitor shoots the same amount of points.

Tom Hartford, one of the co-owners of Central Maine Archery, admits there are a lot of 300-point shooters out there. But what separates Deslauriers from them is her number of Xs and her quest to become the best.

“There is a difference between a good shooter and a great shooter,” Hartford said. “Every kid has the potential to become a great shooter. Abby has so much ability and she works hard. And that’s the key. She works extremely hard, and that’s what separates a lot of really good shooters with great shooters.”

In the summer months, Deslauriers is out behind her Sabattus home shooting well over 100 arrows per day.

In the winter, she is at the indoor range at least four days per week, if not every day.

Her dedication is paying off.

Deslauriers can still remember the feelings she had when she was shooting her final round of the indoor state championship meet in Cumberland.

“I tried to stay calm, I tried to stay focused, and I didn’t really care what other people said or thought,” Deslauriers said. “I just stayed focused. It didn’t feel real.”


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