Diane Johnston’s aim is still on target.
The professional archer and Bowling Green resident recently qualified for the United States Archery Team
for the second consecutive year, and currently ranks as the fourth-best compound archer in the country.
“It means a lot because it’s a status thing to be among the top eight archers in the country. It’s the
honor and the position that pretty much everybody involved with target archery works very hard all year
to achieve,” Johnston said.
She ranked fifth on last year’s team, jumping one spot in the rankings this season after finishing fourth
at the 125th annual National Target Championships in Hamilton, Ohio earlier this month.
“It doesn’t get any easier. It’s still just as hard to make it,” said Johnston of her repeat selection.
It is not as if archery is just a hobby for Johnston; it’s a full-time job. She has two more competitions
in the outdoor season, including the Ohio State Championships, before taking a short time off for indoor
season, which begins in late November.
Johnston practices up to seven days a week throughout the year, taking hundreds of shots daily to perfect
She also works as a head coach in the Junior Olympic Archery Development program, working with youth
archers individually at her club, based at the Adams Conservation Club in Holland.
“It pretty much is my whole life. I do it full time,” Johnston said of the sport. “From Day 1 when I
started it I fell in love with it. It’s very important to me and it’s something that I want to continue
doing as long as I possibly can.”
Johnston began competitive archery just five years ago, but has become so involved with the sport that
she is away from home at competitions for most of the season.
“There were a couple months during the summer where I would come home and I would have maybe 24 hours to
tops three days and I had to pack and leave again,” said Johnston, who is married to her husband Ray.
Johnston is sponsored by several companies, including Hoyt, the manufacturer of her bow. She has been
named to Hoyt’s national staff of archers and is hoping to be named to Hoyt’s professional staff, which
would mean a larger sponsorship.
As part of the national team, she competed in Croatia for the World Team Trials. She just missed
qualifying for the World Championships in Korea, which are the equivalent ot the Olympics as compound
archery is not a recognized Olympic sport.
“Going to Croatia was a wonderful experience,” said Johnston. “To have that experience, it was amazing
going to a country I’ve never been to. Getting used to the culture and shooting with people that were
from all over the world that I couldn’t even communicate with. It was very exciting and I’m hopefully
going to be able to do a couple more of them in this coming year.”
Her bow weighs nine pounds, including equipment for stabilization and balance. To pull the strings of the
bow back Johnston must apply nearly 50 pounds of pressure, making upper body strength a requirement.
An archery tournament, or FITA, can last a weekend or up to a full week, and usually involves a total of
144 arrows shot. 70 meters is the furthest distance Johnston must shoot, aiming for a circle that is
approximately six inches in diameter. Competitors will compete in most elements of weather, with extreme
winds over 30 miles per hour or lightning the only things that can postpone a competition.
And though archery is still a little known sport in this country, overseas it is a different story.
“Overseas, archers are considered rock stars,” Johnston said. “They look at us like we’re Tiger Woods.
You’ve got to spend time signing autographs. But here in the (U.S.), they don’t know about us, which is