10-year-old archer dominates sport

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by Tyler Baldwin

azfamily.com

Posted on June 13, 2012 at 9:12 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 13 at 9:20 AM

Spencer Yee is at the top of his sport, and he's not even in middle school yet.

He may be small in stature, but when staring down a target, he towers over the competition. The 10-year-old Arizona resident just took gold at the Pan Am Archery Championships in El Salvador. He is the youngest ever to be crowned champ.

Spencer is very humble about his immense talent, saying, "I am very honored to make it there and be able to go."

His father, Steve Yee, begins to tear up describing the award ceremony.

"Speaking as a proud dad, nothing beats the feeling that you get when you actually see your child … stars and stripes in the background … and seeing him on the podium for the very first time," he said. "It’s humbling. It’s emotional. I am even getting a little emotional now, just talking about it again."

Traveling with Team USA, Spencer actually came back with a half dozen medals. He dominated the Cadet Division, which is mostly filled with teenagers 15 to 17 years old.

Spencer smiles as he talks about his bigger opponents.

“It feels good to shoot with older kids that I know I can match up with," he said.

His dad quickly points out Spencer does more than just match up with the older generation.

"He out-shoots his dad, he out-shoots his coach, he has achieved quite a bit for the tender age of 10," Steve said.

The sport requires a lot of commitment. Spencer competes in numerous tournaments throughout the year. Plus, he practices at least four times a week with his coach, Paralympian Eric Bennet.

According to Steve, Spencer’s coach has had an immense impact on his skill level.

"Eric has been a wonderful inspiration," Steve said. "He lost his arm in an auto accident when he was a teenager. He devised a harness so he is able to shoot competitively."

Spencer can’t compete in the Olympics. Not for another four years. He has to be at least 14 years old to that. He would also have to switch from a compound bow to a recurve, something he says he's not ready to do just yet.

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