Local sharpshooters see major success at state championship

Published 12:04 am Sunday, July 17, 2016

NATCHEZ — The summer has been a busy one for Kathryn and Allison Freeman and Emily Hootsell.

On July 8, the three markswomen competed in the 4-H Shooting Sports State Championship in Meridian. Kathryn took first place in .22 pistol. Allison and Hootsell competed in archery, finishing 21st and 23nd, respectively.

Kathryn’s first-place finish, qualified her for the 4-H Shooting Sports National Championship in Grand Island, Neb. next year.

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“I felt good (at state),” Kathryn said.

Allison and Emily said their finishes weren’t quite what they were looking for, but their performances will fuel them to train hard for next year’s state competition.

“I went up two places,” Hootsell said. “(I’m motivated for next year) because to go to nationals you have to place one through four.”

Nationals are not an unfamiliar stage for Kathryn. She competed in three air pistol events this season in late June. Her highest finish was a sixth-place finish in the timed fire event.

Kathryn said she missed an opportunity to finish high in slow fire when her pistol malfunctioned.

“We don’t know if the seal was messed up, but I’ve been shooting with it for five years,” Kathryn said. “It’s worn down bad.”

It was a disappointing experience for Kathryn, that stings more because of the 4-H championship rules. A marksperson can only compete in a national event for one season. Since she competed in air pistol this season, she will have to find a new event this year.

“I came there ready to shoot,” Kathryn said. “In slow fire I was ready. Dad could see it.”

Kathryn said she thinks she will practice her skills with a rifle when 4-H club restarts for the season at the Mississippi State Extension service in October. Hootsell said switching from pistol to bow is not a totally smooth transition.

“Gun and bow are completely different,” Hootsell said. “Pistol, rifle and shotgun are all similar because they’re guns. You still have to get into the correct form and have your breathing right, but otherwise they’re different.”

For now, Kathryn said she will pave the way for Hootsell and Allison to excel in bow at next season’s state championship. She said she’ll probably stick to shooting.

“I don’t know what I’ll do because pistol is my thing and bow is their thing,” Kathryn said.