Archery coach George Ryals first saw Dillon McGeorge when he was in the sixth grade. McGeorge was about 11 or 12 then when he came into Ryals’ Archery Learning Center in Snellville with an interest in target archery.
Dillon’s first experience with a bow was with a hunting bow. He would travel around with his parents and compete in local tournaments. Ryals had just started a brand new archery program called Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD).
“We got involved with that program and were training kids up who came into the shop and were interested in archery, but Dillon, because he had spent a lot of time working with me directly getting his form together and learning how to shoot, he was at a much higher level than the beginning kids,” Ryals said.
Dillon and three other kids were so ahead of the pack Ryals created the Hornet program, an elite travel team. Many members of the Hornet program are national champions, and just four months ago at 16 years old, Dillon became a world champion.
“As he grew he started winning state shoots, then he started winning regional shoots, then he won his first national event which is a huge event in Vegas. Which was the third leg of the world indoor and his sector that he shot was a national level event the Vegas Championship,” Ryals said.
“We decided to try the world indoor trials this year, which is a little early for him because he is a cadet and not a junior, but he shot in the junior division just to try out the world indoor and ended up qualifying first,” Ryals said. “He made the team, and the team went out there and won team gold in Nimes France.”
Dillon and his team outshot Italy 233-221 in the finals. Dillon recorded the highest score on his team.
“Under extreme pressure, shooting against 44 or 45 countries that arrived to shoot for the world indoor, for being as young as he is and being as nervous as he was in the situation, he still rose to the occasion and shot as good as he does normally in practice. His competitive day was way above what a normal shooter would be able to do,” Ryals said.
“He shot the highest score of the other kids on the team. He did really well, especially for someone being on that level for the first time.”
According to his father Ellis McGeorge who owns the Saw Shop on Hwy 278, Dillon McGeorge is a mild-mannered kid, mostly quiet kid, who’s very hard not to like.
“Part of what his talent is, is that he has a really good athletic ability,” Ryals said. “He has a highly developed sense of sensitivity, and by that I mean he can feel what he’s doing much better than most people can. So when I give him a skill to try or try to show him something new, he can take on a new skill or do something new fairly easily because he can feel what he’s doing.”
“He’s pretty dang good at just about any of that stuff that he’s tried. Whether it be tree-climbing with a chainsaw, whether it’s baseball. He has a wicked curveball that’ll make you jump out of the box.”
Ellis McGeorge said that his son is not far from becoming a pro in the sport of archery.
“His age right now is what keeps him from being a pro. He’s won enough to be a pro, it’s just that his age is holding him back,” Ellis McGeorge said. “When he gets 17 or 18 in another two years, Dillon will be able to become a junior pro if not a pro at that point. That’s what his goal is. We’re behind him; we’ll just see where it goes.”
“At this point I think that his goal is to try to shoot archery and to make a living at it. He’s more than capable of doing it,” Ellis McGeorge said. “It’s just like anything else as time goes along there’s going to be bumps in the road and distractions, so it depends on how he gets through them. It depends on whether he stays on that path of trying to become a pro.”