Boyer's decision right on target
It's a guarentee that Rebecca Boyer had a lot of tough choices to make during her five years at Pennsylvania College of Technology.
One of the toughest may have come last month.
Boyer, a 2008 Palmerton Area High School graduate, had to choose between the moment that she had been working hard towards for the last 10 semesters her college graduation or the one that she had been working just as hard for the last two years with the Wildcats' Archery team attending the United States Archery Championships in Cedar City, Utah.
The 2013 Pennsylvania College of Technology graduate chose to travel West with her teammates rather than suit up in her cap and gown with her classmates that week.
"My graduation date and walking ceremony was on May 18th which happened to be the same weekend as nationals," Boyer said. "I had decided to attend nationals instead of my commencement ceremonies which I feel was a great decision based on the outcome. That was my final competition as a college athlete."
In Utah, Boyer's bid to win the women's compound national title came up just one point short, forcing her to settle for second place.
"Walking back to my coach, team, and family, I started to cry, 'happy tears' because even though I missed first place by only one point, I was extremely happy for how far I had come," Boyer said. "I never imagined reaching this point. Throughout the entire competition, specifically finishing second individually, it seemed completely surreal to me. It wasn't until it was completely over when it finally hit me that I made it so far."
Boyer was not only competing for individual honors, but was part of a quest of a national team title with her Wildcat teammates. Boyer's efforts helped the Wildcat archery team walk away with a third place overall finish behind national champion Texas A&M and second place James Madison University.
"I am extremely proud of my team," Boyer stressed. "Everyone on the team was always working together and helping each other do the best they could possibly do. I personally know that they have all helped me get to where I am now.
"It's a great honor to make it as far as we did and compete against such well-known schools."
Boyer finished her collegiate archery career by being named a National Female Compound Bow All-American and received some more recognition as a member of the National Female Compound Bow All-Academic Team.
It was those type of honors that struck close to the heart for the individual who had her eye set contstantly on the bull's eye.
"I feel extremely honored to have received these awards," Boyer said. "All-American is based on scores from indoors and outdoor qualification rounds. Once I did so well in indoors, I felt as though I really needed to push myself to make sure I was able to keep my spot to receive this award.
"Academic All-American was also a huge honor as recognizing my academic accomplishments along with archery."
The honors capped an amazing journey for Boyer, who bought her first bow a year ago in January.
"I thought it would be a good idea to try something new since I have danced my entire life and was on the dance team at college," Boyer said. "I knew the Penn College archery team has had a good reputation and is well known for good athletes so I approached the coach about a position. Since they always need more females, I was given a spot on the team as a member of the women's bowhunter team.
"After only a short period of time at practice, the coach asked if I would be willing to step up to women's compound instead, and since I was new to the sport, I hadn't settled into anything so I was willing to try something new even though I was aware that there would be more competition."
Boyer exceeded her own expectations.
In fact, during the season, Boyer placed first in the women's compound at Bloomsburg Early Bird Expo, finished first on the East Coast and second nationally at the U.S. Indoor/East Regional, ended up fourth at the Adam Wheatcroft Memorial Shoot, and grabbed a second place finish at the New England Collegiate Archery Tournament.
"When I started shooting for Penn College, I wasn't exactly sure what was considered "good", but my coaches and teammates kept telling me how impressed they were with me and the ability that I had," Boyer said. "As I continued, I could tell I was improving but kept pushing myself more and more. A lot of the shoots that I attended, I surprised myself with the outcome because I never imagined to have come this far in a year and a few months."