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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado - Garrett Abernethy and Carli Cochran brought home more than two bronze medals from last week's World University Championships in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia - they also got engaged at the event in one of the world's most historic archery cities.
"We had three days of practice before the tournament started," shared Carli. "June 1st was our seventh year anniversary of dating each other. We went to dinner and after we finished eating, he asked if I would marry him. I was probably the happiest archer on the line for the tournament, and I am excited for what the future holds for us!"
Carli and Garrett met at the Lancaster Archery Classic in 2009 and started dating during the Gold Cup USAT event later that year. For the past seven years, the two have traveled the world together shooting on multiple USAT and World Cup teams.
Carli commented, "We both grew up doing archery; it keeps us focused academically and it's a lifetime sport you can do during college. Archery is something we both really like to do together. Hunting also consumes a lot of our time during the fall and spring months. We both enjoy hunting together for turkeys and whitetail deer. We'll probably always want to shoot archery and hunt together."
Garrett started archery hunting and recreational shooting in the backyard with his dad when he was four. "I went to one of the JOAD clubs in Georgia and started shooting through the JOAD program."
"I did basically the same thing but I started when I was 12 or 13," added Carli. "I took a beginner class at Lancaster Archery Supply, and then joined their JOAD program. As I graduated through the levels of the program, I began teaching the beginner classes. I also started competing in local and regional tournaments. As I continued shooting, my competition grew to the state, national, and international level."
"That was the only way we saw each other for the first four years of our relationship," added Garrett. "I definitely like going to foreign countries for tournaments. Having Carli there makes the travel and time there more fun. You have someone there you enjoy spending time with."
Carli echoed: "You get to see the world with one another; you get to travel and see a lot of places. Poland is one of our favorite places we've competed at several times. We also help each other a lot at tournaments; if we're having trouble on the line or while we're shooting, we're always there for one another. Garrett knows a lot about how to fix a bow if something breaks and needs to be fixed right away."
Garrett agreed: "You have someone there for support and to coach you throughout the tournament." He joked: "It can be detrimental too, if you don't shoot as well as you can, they don't cut you much slack, especially when they out shoot you!"
Carli and Garrett plan to continue pursuing their love of archery and USA Archery wishes them many years of happiness together.
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