Sungwoo Shin has his sights set on defending his national title this week, and he rarely misses a target.
The Galloway Township resident and Atlantic Cape Community College student is one of the top archers in the country.
Shin and the Buccaneers leave early today to head south to James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, for the U.S. National Outdoor Collegiate Championships.
Shin is a four-time All-American. He won the overall individual recurve title at last year's championships.
"I really would like to defend my national title because this is my last season in the college level," Shin said. "I will practice as much as I can, and I will try to make my coaches Chad (Affrunti), John (Repnicki) and my family proud of me."
Shin was dominant in winning the Eastern Regional Intercollegiate Championships at Columbia University in New York City in late April, and Atlantic Cape head coach Affrunti likes his chances of repeating at nationals.
"As long as Sungwoo shows up and shoots the way he can, he's the odds-on favorite," Affrunti said.
Atlantic Cape is one of the most storied archery programs in the country. One of the unique about the Buccaneers is that they are competing against all schools. They compete against the likes of Texas A&M, UCLA, Penn State, Columbia, James Madison and Arizona.
Shin's experience has benefited a relatively young team.
"Sungwoo definitely helps us out," Affrunti said. "It's like having another coach. He's very experienced. The people look up to him, and he's someone that is always looking to help and teach."
Few can match Shin's work ethic.
He spends hour after hour perfecting his craft.
"I'm just always trying to do my best, both at practice and competing in competitions," Shin said. "My philosophy is that sweat and effort never betray me so I always practice until I feel like I practiced enough, which gives me more confidence.
"You must also be passionate about it and I am passionate about archery."
Shin said he knew what he wanted to do with his life after competing in an international tournament in Mexico in 2006.
Shin, now 27, was born and raised in South Korea. He was very successful in competitive archery and was making a good living.
He gave all that up, left his friends and family at 23 and moved to New York City to learn English.
"I realized that speaking English is a must in the global arena so my whole life has changed since that competition," Shin said. "In Korea, I was getting paid really good money and getting sponsors. ... I knew living in the USA by myself would be very difficult so I tried to do my best both studying and practicing so finally the hard work I have done in my five years in the United States has paid off."
After studying English in New York for three years, Shin began looking for schools with archery programs. He then came across Atlantic Cape. Four years later, he is graduating this semester with a degree in business administration.
Shin already has his future gameplan, and one of his next targets is the 2020 Olympics.
"He's someone who could definitely make the Olympic team in 2020," Affrunti said. "He's one of the best archers to come through our program, and we've had world champions in the past. He's definitely someone who is at that caliber."
Shin said he will receive his green card next month but needs to be a U.S. citizen for at least five years before becoming eligible to compete for Team USA.
In the meantime, Shin has already made plans to move to California next month after graduating to work alongside famed U.S. Olympic Archery Training Program coach Kisick Lee.
But first things first.
Shin is focused on winning his second national title this weekend.
"I'm not stopping here," Shin said. "I'm going to move forward to the Olympics."
Shin will also be defending his mixed team national title alongside Somers Point's Ariella Mossman.
Northfield's Phil Holmer was 13th and Woodbine's Andrew Ciurczak 20th in recurve at regionals. Mossman was 19th in female recurve. Mays Landing's Hillary Paladini was 20th, Williamstown's Cori Lightcap 24th and Somers Point's Aimee Fischer 25th.
Buena's Nelson Vega was 13th, Egg Harbor City's Chris Ferraro 16th and Villas' Steve Church Jr. 17th in male compound. EHT's Christine Papaycik was 13th and Point Pleasant's Lorena Koidl 14th in female compound.