Local archery duo ends 4-H career with personal bests

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 6, 2017

For local archers Emily Hootsell and Allison Freeman, competing in the Mississippi 4-H State Shooting Sports Invitational was something they had done before. But, that didn’t stop them from rising to the top.

Hootsell, in her fourth state event and Freeman in her third, both placed in the top 10 for this year’s compound archery division. Hootsell’s No. 3 spot and Freeman’s post at No. 9 were both good for a best personal finish at the competition on July 28-29 in West Point.

“I knew that I was doing the best I could do,” Hootsell said of her performance. “There was only a couple shots where I felt like I could have done better.”

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After graduating from Cathedral High School last school year, Hootsell said she credits a strong finish to feeling more prepared.

“I have gotten to practice much more than I have in the years past,” she said. “I have improved every year, but something has always seemed to come up. For the most part, I felt really well.”

Despite warm weather, Freeman — a 2017 graduate of Adams County Christian School — also said she enjoyed the experience.

“Some rounds were better than others, but it was still good to place higher up,” she said.

While this year’s invitational marks the final 4-H competition for the pair, they won’t be separated any time soon.

Each have signed scholarship papers to attend Mississippi College this fall and compete on the archery team.

“We have been practicing together for three or four years,” Freeman said. “For that to be our last 4-H event, it was fun. (Hootsell) really stepped it up this year.”

Hootsell’s third-place finished qualified her for the National Shooting Sports Invitational in Grand Island, Neb. next June, yet with her near future set in Clinton, she will have to miss out.

“It was pretty great, a good feeling to know I ended on a good note,” she said. “I had a blast, and I love shooting with (Freeman). It’s not as bittersweet to end with 4-H because I know I will do other things just as big at MC. I’m excited.”