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### Overcoming Physical Challenge: High School Archer Emerges as Top Talent in Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa – The State Archery Tournament this weekend is hosting approximately 2,000 students, among whom stands out a remarkable individual who has triumphed over a physical disability.

Lucas Hledik, born without his left hand, has dedicated years to honing his skills in archery. His journey began as a child when his grandmother purchased his first wooden bow and arrow at the Iowa State Fair.

Initially, Lucas encountered challenges in mastering the sport.

Describing his early struggles, Lucas shared, “I put the string on my little nub, then I just pulled it back and let it fly. Eventually, I would get these huge welts… on my arm.”

Despite the discomfort, his passion for archery kept him going. He innovated solutions like using sweatshirts to protect his arm.

Five years ago, under the mentorship of Coach Ed Vance at Central Dewitt, Lucas adopted the use of a mouth tab for shooting.

Reflecting on the process, Coach Vance remarked, “I knew that I needed to find a way to adapt the bow so he can shoot it, but I couldn’t tell him how to shoot it. He had to figure it out and he’s just an example of somebody who does not make excuses. He just adapts, he figures it out, and he performs at the highest level.”

While the adjustment was a learning curve for both Lucas and his coach, today, Lucas, a senior at Central Dewitt, ranks among the top archers in the state.

During last year’s Lancer January Bullseye Tournament, Lucas achieved an impressive score of 297 points, nearing the perfect score of 300.

This year’s state tournament marks Lucas’ final appearance in the competition unless he qualifies for nationals. Over the weekend, he secured a score of 290 points.

Expressing mixed emotions about concluding this chapter of his life, Lucas expressed gratitude for his coaches, noting, “Normally I have to come up with my own new inventions or new way of doing things, but it was nice that someone else was pitching in to help me out.”

In recognition of his perseverance and skill, Lucas was awarded a $1,000 scholarship at the conclusion of his competition on Saturday. He intends to continue his archery practice in the future.

Offering advice to aspiring young archers, Lucas emphasized, “Don’t worry about other people, try to beat yourself. And it doesn’t matter how many limbs you’re missing.”

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