Anastasia “Tasha” Schutte had been on this stage before.
After winning multiple gold medals at the State Games of Michigan and the State Games of America in archery, she was a veteran.
So when the Michigan flag bearer did not show up for the State Games of America, the Holland native stepped in and paraded her state into the games.
“Just before the Parade of Athletes began, I decided to take the initiative and carry the flag for my state,” she said. “I was a bit nervous to carry the flag during the Parade of Athletes, and proud at the same time.”
It was part of a banner year for her family of archers. Between Anastaisa, her mother Diana and step-father Charlie Oxford, the family earned three medals at the State Games of Michigan and six more at the State Games of America last month in Iowa.
Anastasia won the gold medal in the Barebow Adult Female category and was the silver medal winner in the Traditional Adult Female category. It was her third time competing at the State Games of America after six times competing at the State Games of Michigan.
“It feels rewarding to look back and see how much progress and improvement I have made over the last couple of years,” she said. “I never imagined myself being in the position where I am today.”
Diana earned a gold medal in the Traditional Adult Female category and was the bronze winner in the Barebow.
“My daughter encouraged and inspired me to learn how to shoot a bow and arrow,” Dianna Schutte said. “This is my second year participating in archery tournaments. I feel myself improving after many hours of practicing, and I feel honored to earn medals at the end. However, whether earning medals or not, I am so happy, blessed and proud that we have the ability and time to compete as a family in the state and national level tournaments to continue to support and encourage each other.”
Charlie won the gold medal in the Barebow Adult Male category and was the bronze medal winner in the traditional class.
“I shot archery at a younger age for hunting. I never thought it would be so fun to shoot in competitions,” Charlie said. “My desire to participate started when I first saw Anastasia shot n 2015. When Diana showed interest to try, that just added gas t the fire for me. I was hooked form that point. The best of all, it was us as a family that made me so proud, regardless of the outcome.”
An impressive finish for the trio, something they would have never guessed just a few years ago watching Anastasia begin to learn the sport.
Now it is a family legacy, one that isn’t over by a longshot.
“To continue to compete in archery as a family means that I get to stand and support my family each step of the way,” Anastasia said. “We get to share our victories and triumph as well as celebrating the hard work we put in. When one of us is struggling, we motivate each other to get back on track with encouragement and support.”