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Each year we cover a number of National Letter of Intent Signings as gifted student-athletes from across the area bring their talents on the field to the collegiate level. Among all those though something we don’t normally see is a National Champion Archer in that mix. However, that’s exactly what Vestal High School Class of 2021 Graduate Marissa Harding is doing. 

“I just like the individuality of it, I kind of like being on my own,” says Harding.  

Marissa Harding has been involved with archery since around the age of 7. It started with her going hunting with her dad led to her shooting competitively, entering tournaments across the state at first and then the country. 

“I never expected to be going to all these places because it was just something my dad got me into,” says Harding. “The first year I went to Las Vegas, there’s a really big tournament there. I just wasn’t expecting anything and he was just like we should go here and we went.” 

From Vegas, to Buffalo, to even Kentucky, Harding has competed all over. It led to her winning over 20 state titles from the age of 10, up until now as she competes in adult classes. She won a National Title at the 2018 Junior Olympic Archery Development or JOAD Nationals. Harding even held a national record in outdoors for USA Archery in the Cub Division. She says that archery has provided her with the best experiences of her life.  

“It’s really great to meet all these different people,” says Harding. “I’ve made a bunch of really good friends along the way and it’s just amazing.” 

After recently traveling to Alabama for a chance at qualifying for the JOAD Outdoor Nationals, Harding is preparing for the next step in her journey, college. She will be heading to Kentucky this fall to the University of the Cumberlands to compete on the Patriots Archery team. 

“I’m looking forward to college a lot,” says Harding. “Meeting a bunch of new people and excited to be on a team for once. I’ve never really ever been on a team so I’m excited to meet the whole team and have that team dynamic for the first time.” 

Harding says her end goal would eventually be to compete for Team USA in the Olympics, but for that to happen they would need to add compound to the archery events which is what she shoots. So hopefully the Olympics add compound so that one day we could possibly see the former Golden Bear competing for her country on the biggest global stage.