For the past two years Ozark (Mo.) High School’s Emily Freeman has finished with the most points among female anglers in the National Youth Fishing Association (NYFA) Team of the Year Award standings.
The 17-year-old senior recalls she has been fishing ever since she could hold a rod in her hand. She grew up fishing for catfish and trout with her dad who guides on Table Rock, Taneycomo and Truman lakes. Emily also fished for bass when she was younger and started fishing tournaments when she joined the Ozark High School bass team three years ago.
Emily says she enjoys the camaraderie and competition of high school bass fishing. “My favorite part is probably meeting all of the different kids my age, hanging out with them and just competing against each other,” she says.
Her proudest accomplishment in high school fishing is being nominated for the 2019 Missouri Sports Commission Awards honoring the top high school athletes of southwest Missouri. Freeman and her partner Ethan Middleton were finalists in the bass fishing category but didn’t win the award. She is also proud of their sixth-place finish out of 291 teams in this year’s NYFA tournament at Table Rock Lake and qualifying for the 2019 Bassmaster High School National Championship.
Emily plans on fishing at the college level possibly at Oklahoma State University where she intends to major in wildlife biology and fisheries.