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Mississippi College Archers Bound for Nationals

Top, from left: Dalton Moore (D’Iberville), Ryan Ivey (McComb), Bryden Herring (Meadville); Bottom, from left: Anna Carraway (Wesson), Kathryn Freeman (Natchez), Lexi Moore (D’Iberville), Jacey Wall (Hattiesburg), Allison Freeman (Natchez), Emily Hootsell (Natchez)
Top, from left: Dalton Moore (D’Iberville), Ryan Ivey (McComb), Bryden Herring (Meadville); Bottom, from left: Anna Carraway (Wesson), Kathryn Freeman (Natchez), Lexi Moore (D’Iberville), Jacey Wall (Hattiesburg), Allison Freeman (Natchez), Emily Hootsell (Natchez)

Emily Hootsell isn’t ready to retire her bow and arrows after graduating from Mississippi College in early May.

A Natchez resident, Emily travels to metro Richmond, Virginia, to participate in the USA Collegiate Target Nationals this weekend.

The event is booked at Dorey Park and Recreation Center May 20-23. It brings hundreds of the nation’s leading collegiate archers to Virginia. The tournament is supported by a lengthy list of sponsors - from Bass Pro Shops to Cabela’s sporting goods stores. Support comes from the James Madison University archery team.

The competitive format features barebow, bowhunter, compound, and recurve divisions.

Emily Hootsell has shown she’s at the top of her game after solid performances with teammates at a South Mississippi tournament to close out the MC archery season.

Coach John McDonald joined MC archers at the South-Central Regional Outdoor Target Championship in late April.

Winds gusted up to 25 mph, and it rained at times while MC archers shot arrows in an eighty-centimeter circle at fifty meters. "When the day was done, the MC team came through with shining medals,” the coach noted. William Carey University in Hattiesburg hosted the event.

There were seven first-place awards for MC archers, two for second place, and three fourth-place finishes.

First-place finishers: Ansleigh Washam, women’s recurve bow; Bryson Herring, men’s bowhunter; and women’s compound, Emily Hootsell.

First-place mixed open team: Emily Hootsell and Ryan Ivey; bowhunter men’s team: Bryson Herring, Zeek Griffin, and Evan Smith.

Other first-place finishers included the Blue & Gold’s mixed bowhunter team: Anna Carraway and Bryson Herring. Women’s bowhunter team: Anna Carraway, Emilia Micieli, and Brianna Wigley. Getting second-place honors were Anna Carraway in the women's bowhunter division and Allison Freeman in the category of women's compound.

Boasting one of the top archery teams in the USA, the Blue & Gold squad keeps getting better. University administrator Jim Turcotte is thrilled with their success. “The archery team continues to perform at the highest levels. We are proud of their accomplishments,” says the vice president and executive director of the MC Alumni Association. Jim oversees MC’s outdoor programs.

Student-athletes like Emily Hootsell also target excellent grades in classrooms.

One of MC’s more than 40,000 alumni worldwide, Emily will continue her education. Emily plans to attend the University of Louisiana at Monroe to pursue a master’s in biology. After earning that degree, Emily will go to medical school.

Her final season with the MC Choctaws archery program, Hootsell said, “has been a blast. I am very appreciative of the opportunities to compete nationally with my teammates. Thank you to our coaches and MC staff for providing these opportunities.”