An inch might as well be a mile and second place might as well be last. That is the competitive spirit that Pennsylvania College of Technology archer Danny Wido, of Shickshinny, brings to the game.
Wido, a senior and Northwest High School graduate who won the men’s compound national collegiate championships the past two years running, placed second in individual competition during last month’s World University Archery Championships in Shenzhen, China, (Sept. 23-26) and was a member of the winning men’s compound team.
Wido qualified third to go into the elimination rounds and fought his way into the gold-medal match, where both he and Texas A&M archer Adam Gallant had 19 of 20 target hits. That put them into a closest-to-the-center shoot-off, where Gallant was closest to the center by 1 inch on his final arrow.
“It wants me to put the bow in my hands more and get better. I don’t take losing very lightly. I’m a very competitive person and that just pushes me to achieve what I want to do. I don’t want it (second) to happen again. I’d just as soon get last, to be honest. Second just tears me apart. To get that close and then “¦ ” Wido said, his voice trailing off.
Wido, Gallant and Steve Gatto (Atlantic Cape Community College) combined for the men’s team title, however, taking away a bit of the bitter taste.
“It’s awesome. It’s definitely an experience that, if it comes to you, you have to take it. It was ridiculous for me. It was awesome,” he said of the overall opportunity.
“It was a lot different than what we are used to here. It’s (archery) more a spectator sport there. All of the other countries in the world actually take archery seriously, unlike the USA. It was televised nationally over there,” Wido said. “It (higher visibility) takes a couple of arrows to get used to, but any (experienced) shooter can get accustomed to it “¦ and you just shoot the bow.”
The soon-to-be 22-year-old (his birthday is Oct. 23) has been shooting bow and arrow most of his life.
“I was 3 years old. My dad stuck a plastic bow with suction cups on the end of the arrows in my hand and let me shoot at the fridge. At 5 years old, I got my first recurve and, at 7 years old, I got my first compound,” Wido related.
“He pushed me hard when I was a kid, to keep me in it, because he saw that I could actually shoot a bow semi-decent. I’m definitely grateful for him pushing me as hard as he did. I didn’t like it then, but I do now.
“I enjoy shooting the bow a lot. He (Wido’s father) understands that I want to make a living, possibly, at this,” Wido said, noting that with sponsorships “there’s definitely a lot of money in it.”
Although he also hunts with a bow, when it comes to competition target-shooting, Wido said, “You have to be a machine. Archery is one of the things where you do the same thing every time. It’s extremely boring, but it’s a necessity to do the same exact thing every shot or you’re going to see a lot of erratic shooting.”
The start of the collegiate season still is more than two months away, but Wido is eager for it to come.
“I can’t wait. I enjoy shooting indoors when it comes to January, February and March, but I definitely took a liking to the outdoors when I was in China. I’m looking forward to the spring when we get outside again (in April),” he added.