3-year Lope, USA Archery star aims to grow sport
By: Zach Melcher/GCU Club Sports Writing Staff
350 arrows a day.
7 days a week.
Becoming the No. 1 compound archer in the world doesn’t come without time and dedication to one’s craft. Alexis Ruiz, a nursing major from the Grand Canyon University Club Archery team, understands what it takes to claim this title.
Ruiz’s journey to world No. 1 started at the age of 10 when she joined her school’s archery program. Her original intentions were to eventually shoot alongside her father, who was a bow hunter. However, after receiving her first bow for Christmas and being placed in a local tournament, Ruiz was hooked on the competitive side of archery.
“The more I shot, the more I loved it,” said Ruiz. “They continued signing me up for tournaments until I eventually reached the national level and now, I am a professional archer.”
As she continued to grow within the sport, she began to compete as a member of the USA Archery team.
Ruiz’s competitive experience on the world championship level started in the junior division in 2017 before she made the jump to the senior division two years ago. Ruiz was only 19 years old when she entered the senior division, a group typically for ages 20 – 49.
In her debut season as a professional archer on the senior tour, she was the only archer – both male and female – across all divisions to podium at every world cup event. She also helped Team USA win two golds, a silver and two mixed-team titles in the Hyundai Archery World Cup that season.
All these accomplishments led to her receiving the rank of No. 1 in the world.
Although archery is being played in this year’s Olympics, Ruiz’s style – the compound bow division – has not yet been added. Instead, Ruiz was selected as one of the three archers in her division to compete in the world championship series.
As COVID canceled the 2020 season, Ruiz entered her second year of professional archery with an impressive fourth-place finish in the Guatemala City 2021 Hyundai World Championship Series Stage 1.
Most recently, Ruiz came home from the Paris 2021 Hyundai World Championship Series Stage 3, and despite having a strong shooting performance, she was unable to find a way onto the podium in her final event of the series.
With the start of the school year nearing, Ruiz will turn some of her attention to helping run the GCU Club Archery team – a team she helped build.
“My goal in helping create the club team was to be able to compete collegiately,” said Ruiz. “I also wanted to use my knowledge of the sport to help teach others – whether it was their first time with a bow, or they had hunting experience.”
As the club continues to grow, Ruiz has high hopes for the Lopes’ future.
“My plan this season is to help build a team who wants to compete for the USA Archery Collegiate Target Nationals,” said Ruiz. “After I leave the program, I hope more people come and have fun shooting, competing, and representing GCU.”
Interested in learning more about the GCU Club Archery team?