Trio of local markswomen set to compete in state invitational

Published 12:30 am Sunday, June 19, 2016

NATCHEZ — Sisters Allison Freeman and Kathryn Freeman alongside close friend Emily Hootsell had a day to remember in late April at a district tournament in Pearl.

Hootsell and Allison finished first and second place, respectively, in the archery division, while Kathryn notched the top spot in the .22 pistol competition.

The results qualified the trio to compete in early July in Meridian at the Mississippi 4-H Shooting Sports State Invitational.

Email newsletter signup

“I grew up doing this,” Kathryn said. “I want to finish well.”

Kathryn, 15, will also make a trip to Grand Island, Neb., to compete in the 4-H Shooting Sports National Championships in the air pistol division. Kathryn scored a total of 263 out of 300 at the district meet and said the competition provided her a good opportunity in preparing her for both events this summer.

“It felt different, because it was my first time shooting in a competition,” Kathryn said. “It felt good to know I could shoot that well.”

For Hootsell, 17, and Allison, 17, the summer’s event is not the first time they’ve been on the statewide stage, with both having placed in the top 25 last year.

“It’s going to be exciting,” Hootsell said. “I feel like we’re better prepared this year than we were last year. I’m hoping to get higher than what I did last year.”

Hootsell and Allison practice every day together and have formed a competitive bond. Perhaps no greater example of their competitiveness can be attributed to the district meet, where the duo maintained an identical shooting score through the first two rounds, before Hootsell managed to pull away with a 137 to 136 out of 150 win.

“There’s always competition,” Allison said. “We practice with each other every day, every morning.”

The tight score even garnered the attention of a tournament official.

“The (administrator) was like, ‘Are y’all doing this on purpose?’” Allison said.

As for the state invitational slated for July 8- 9, Hootsell said the trio is more than looking forward to testing their skills among the state’s best.

“It’s always a good rush,” Hootsell said.