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Three Natchez women compete in archery in college

NATCHEZ — Kathryn Freeman and sister Allison Freeman both graduated from Adams County Christian School and are both now studying at Mississippi College in Clinton.

Both sisters are on the Mississippi College archery team, where they met Emily Hootsell, who graduated from Cathedral High School in 2017.

Both Allison Freeman and Emily Hootsell are juniors at Mississippi College while Kathryn Freeman is a freshman.

The first day at Mississippi College, Kathryn Freeman said she was nervous and didn’t know anyone. But being on the Choctaws archery team has made Kathryn Freeman feel more at home, she said.

“As a freshman, you don’t know a lot of people,” Kathryn Freeman said. “Then being part of a team and them welcoming you in, that’s togetherness. You’re on a team and have friends to count on.”

Both the Freemans and Hootsell were part of the Adams County 4-H when they were younger. Hootsell said she felt like she had an advantage being part of the 4-H Club.

“They do provide the variety of archery styles so we did shoot 3-D and outdoor targets, which prepared us for college to shoot those different divisions,” Hootsell said. “Us being able to compete collectively in 4-H broadened our view of the different styles you can compete in.”

For the Choctaws, they practice three days a week in a facility in Jackson and practice outside on a target course near campus. Being from Natchez, Hootsell said she has an advantage over other archers since she started shooting at a young age.

“Natchez has helped us by providing the opportunity to compete,” Hootsell said. “The 4-H program gave me the option and the ability to find archery.”

Last season for the Choctaws, the women’s bowhunter squad captured the National 3D Collegiate Championships in Foley, Alabama. Mississippi College competed against 25 teams in a bracket.

Since winning the National 3D Collegiate Championships, the Choctaws team was invited to two indoor invitationals this year. The first indoor invitational is in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The second indoor invitational is in Las Vegas. The Vegas Shoot is an invitational where bow and arrow hunters can compete in a variety of divisions and win cash.

In the bow hunter flight, men and women compete against each other and try to win. The top prize is $1,850. Another division the Freemans and Hootsell are going to compete in is the compound open. The top prize for the division is $54,000. Kathryn Freeman said she has never been to that competition.

“I don’t know what it’s going to be like,” Kathryn Freeman said. “I’m looking forward to see how many people compete and the different levels of competition.”