ENCINITAS — From Minecraft to national tournaments 2,000 miles from home, 15-year-old Cardiff resident Luca Pierpan Tatro has taken his love for the sport of archery a long way.
Earlier this month, Pierpan Tatro, a junior at San Dieguito Academy High School, returned from Decatur, Alabama, where he took home a silver medal in the Barebow Cadet Men’s division at the USA Archery Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD) National Tournament.
The young archer admitted to his own nervousness heading into his first national tournament.
“Of course, there was a very good amount of anxiety that came with me, but my strategy is to ignore it,” Pierpan Tatro told The Coast News. “Not necessarily pretend that it’s not there but just acknowledge it and move on. Just accept the fact that I’m a little bit scared and want to do well and let that push me forward to do well.”
A local of the Cardiff area, Pierpan Tatro also had to deal with some adverse weather he was not accustomed to when practicing outdoors in Southern California.
“Alabama was an interesting place, to say the least, a little bit of a change of scenery from California,” Pierpan Tatro said. “The second day of shooting was the main doozy. We had to wait in our car after each time we shot, usually for at least an hour, because we kept getting weather warnings for ridiculously heavy rain and lightning at times.”
But the North County competitor was able to push through the weather and earn second place in the event, exceeding even his own expectations for the tournament.
After qualification rounds, Pierpan Tatro was ranked fourth in his division and in elimination rounds, he took out the top-ranked competitor en route to his second-place finish.
“I, of course, had the questionably wild dream to get in the top ten, which is also what my coaches wanted,” Pierpan Tatro said. “So they were very happy with the result but my main goal for really any day of shooting is staying consistent.”
Pierpan Tatro took up the sport of archery when he was in seventh grade, becoming interested in bow and arrows after playing Minecraft, an open-world crafting and building video game that uses bow and arrows for combat mechanics.
“One day my parents went ‘hey he’s not doing any other sport, maybe we can try to get him into this one, so they booked a private lesson for me and it just started from there,” Pierpan Tatro.
He quickly took to the mental aspects of the sport and joined up with Xcelerated Archery Training where he now is the co-captain of his team.
Pierpan Tatro focuses with a barebow recurve, a stripped-down version of modern Olympic bows but with no sights nor stabilizers, which he said allows him to concentrate more on the mental aspect of shooting.
“The main reason that I stuck with the sport, and the joke that I like to tell everybody is, there is a reason why I chose the least physically active one,” Pierpan Tatro said. “I’m what my parents like to call, a thinker. And I like archery because it forces my head to work harder than my limbs.”
Currently, the Olympics does not have an event for bareback recurve archery.
Pierpan Tatro said it has crossed his mind that if he were to switch to an Olympic-style bow he likely could have a decent shot of making a future Olympic team.
“That is not something I’m super interested in right now,” Pierpan Tatro said. “I like to travel but it’s not my favorite thing in the world. But it really just seems like more of a hassle than I really want to put in.”
He says he prefers his “simple stuff” for now with his bareback recurve.
The more immediate goal for Pierpan Tatro, who is a 4.0 student at San Dieguito Academy and a member of the school’s robotics team, is to make it onto an archery team at his next level of education.
“I want to try to get onto a collegiate team for whatever college I end up going to if I can,” Pierpan Tatro said. “But aside from that, my personal goals are just trying to shoot better.”