Buckeye Local grad wins world archery crown

Many Ohio Valley athletes have won state championships.

A handful have been fortunate enough to win national championships.

Very few, however, have captured a world championship.

You can now add Buckeye Local graduate Michael Pietro the short list.

The recently turned 18 year old claimed the International Bowhunting Organization World Championship in Ellicottville, N.Y. earlier this month in the youth division.

Pietro has been entering the competitive shoots for four years.

“Michael worked up at Woodbury Outdoors, in the archery department, and show bow all the time,” his father, Joe, said. “He’s always been a hunter, but he really never wanted to compete when my other son (Tim) and I went all around, but then, all of the sudden, he said he was going to start.”

Basically, the rest has been history because Michael has been on the fast track in his climb up the compound bow competitions.

He won the ‘Triple Crown’ which consists of three different designated competitions in 2012.

To reach the World Championships, an archer has to qualify at one of the Triple Crown stops. This year’s events were held in Bedford, In., McKeen, Pa and Marango, Ohio.

Michael won the event in Bedford in May, qualifying himself for the worlds.

At the worlds, the competition begins with 20 targets in the first two days and then the field is trimmed. The top five scorers return on Saturday for 10 more targets.

Michael advanced to Saturday by posting a two-day score of 420 out of a possible 440.

He was the first shooter on Saturday, beginning the round with a two-point lead. He scored an 11 in the shoot, mathematically clinching the championship.

“The range of scores is between eight and 11,” Joe Pietro said. “So, he knew if he shot an 11 he couldn’t be caught, but anything less and he possible could be tied.

Joe wasn’t able to watch the competition, which was held at Holiday Valley Ski Resort. It wasn’t until two hours later when he saw his son again.

“I saw him and he just shook his head like he hadn’t done well,” Joe recalled. “I felt bad for him and he told me ‘the last shot was tough.’ I honestly thought he got beat, but then he put his head down and said, ‘well, I shot an 11.'”

Though his dad was surprised because of the way Michael delivered the news, Joe had a feeling his son would be right in the thick of the competition.

“He really put a lot of time in, practiced a lot at home and he felt confident,” Joe said. “He went to New York to win and do well. He had the confidence he was going to do it.”

Both Joe and Michael expressed their appreciation for their sponsors, which are Gold Tip, B-Stinger Stabilizer and Bohning Archery.

One of the areas where Michael has had to work the hardest is limiting the speed of the arrows out of the bow since he’s in the youth division.

“His class has a speed limit of 260 and most bows shoot 300 feet a second,” Joe said. “He had to use heavier arrows to keep the speed down because if you go over, you’re disqualified.”

Michael becomes the second member of his family to win the World Championship and the coveted belt buckle that goes to the winner. His older brother, Tim, won a pair of championships.

Now, just their dad, Joe, who still competes in the IBO Championships, lacks a title.

“They kind of get on me about it,” Joe said. “I am not quitting until I win the worlds, too. I have one more year in senior division and then, when I turn 60, I move up to the Master Division.”

While Joe chases his first, Michael plans on being back in the field trying to repeat in 2015.