Winning medals isn’t Lia Coryell’s primary motivation at the Paralympic Games.
That doesn’t mean she isn’t shooting for one.
Sparked by her dedication and relentless commitment, Coryell’s meteoric rise up the female W1 archery rankings has made medaling a possibility.
Her support system — coaches, family and friends alike — shares the same hope, and boasts an even stronger confidence in Coryell’s chances.
“She’s coming away with hardware,” said Sam Tucker, Coryell’s training partner and fellow Paralympic archer. “That woman is always happy to be shooting, but she just gets in a zone, and she is a fierce competitor; oh my gosh, a fierce competitor. I have seen her overcome equipment failures and all sorts of stuff, and shoot personal bests.
“When things go wrong, she gets upset, and she gets more focused and she shoots better. So that girl is coming away with some hardware. I have no doubt.”
Doing so would prove an astounding feat for anyone, but especially for Coryell, who is still just 23 months removed from her formal introduction to the sport of archery.
Prior to attending a V.A. summer sports clinic in September of 2014, Coryell had never shot an arrow. Now she’s a seasoned pro.
“In archery, we’re very fortunate that there is an accelerated (rate) in being able to perform at a relatively high level,” said M.J. Rogers, an archery coach for Team USA., who worked with Coryell last spring during a six-month training period in Colorado Springs.
“Her acceleration has been enhanced by her dedication to practice, and her willingness to listen to coaches and learn from that, and learn from her interaction with other teammates and apply that without regard for what she doesn’t know.
“It’s almost a blessing in disguise that she is so new, because she has no preconceived notions about how good she is in relation to the rest of the world.”