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Danielle Herman has golden touch in archery

Danielle Herman sat freezing in a tree for two hours waiting for some prey to happen by. She was prepared to take aim with her compound bow and strike at the heart of some unfortunate boar or deer.

Good thing for the beasts that Herman ran out of patience, because it's unlikely the 13-year-old archer would have missed.

She proved that earlier this month in the national Junior Olympics in Austin, Texas. Herman won two gold medals in the junior girls compound freestyle division to add to a gold she won in last year's Junior Olympics.

Herman also has won several state age-group titles and participated last summer in the Junior Olympic Development Program in San Diego, where she won two more medals. She'll attend the program again this summer.

"I have no idea what makes me so good," said Herman, who took up archery at age 9 after watching her father Mike shoot. "Actually, I'm a real klutz. I trip over my own feet. If there's a rock to trip on in the forest, I'll find it."

But when it comes to shooting a bow, Herman is a study in concentration. Her coaches, Diane Watson, Floyd Beckwith and Jack Clarke, have helped her develop her ability and technique so that her aim is almost always true.

In the ranking round of the Junior Olympics, she scored 1,288 points out of 1,440. And in the finals, she beat her one-person competition by 12 points.

After winning gold in her own competition, Herman would like someday to compete in the Olympics, even though current rules call for traditional bows.

Herman uses a compound bow, which has cables and wheels that reduce the weight resistance on the archer, and feels compound bows are just as challenging.

"It takes just as much skill," said Herman, who will be an eighth-grader at Bayonet Point Middle School. "You still have to aim and shoot and hit the target."