Like many children, Roger Hermosilla Hinojo grew up loving sports, however, he was physically unable to play.
“When I was born, my diaphragm wasn’t working properly, it had a gap on the left side” he explained. “I had to get surgery when I was 15 days old, my digestive system was located in the upper part of my chest, so I couldn’t breathe.”
After multiple doctors appointments and medications, the Caldes de Montbui (Barcelona), Spain native was told to stay away from strenuous exercise.
“I couldn’t run if I tried,” he said. “If I did I would need an inhaler.”
When in high school, Roger attended a field day where students had the opportunity to shoot archery. He quickly fell in love with the sport.
“It was a sport where you didn’t have to run, which was good for me,” Roger said. “I was offered a scholarship, was given training and equipment, and began competing regionally, nationally, and internationally.”
Roger went onto receive his associate’s degree in Kinesiology and Athletic Training at a high-performance center in Spain, where the national team practices, but then had to make an important decision on what to do next.
“Archery isn’t a professional sport in Spain, and there wasn’t a college division,” he explained. “My dad contacted one of the US National Team members and asked him for recommendations on where I could complete my degree and shoot archery in the US. He gave us a few choices – Texas A&M, James Madison University, the University of the Cumberlands, and Emmanuel College.”
Very quickly, Emmanuel College stood out to Roger and his family.
“I was raised in the faith,” he said. “I liked the institution and thought it would be a good fit for me, and I wasn’t wrong.”
Since he arrived at EC, Roger has been a part of several nationally ranked teams, taking home SIX National Championships, three of them alongside fiancé, Rachel Reshonsky. He also was named to the All-Region team twice and was a 4-time Archery Shooters Association Pro/AM Tour Podium finisher.
In the classroom, he has completed his degree in Sports Management and has moved onto pursue a degree in Organizational Communication.
Although several faculty and staff members have impacted Roger’s time at Emmanuel, one friendship he has formed might surprise many.
“Vice President for Advancement, Brian James shoots archery as a hobby,” he said. “I met him at practice and have worked with him ever since. That’s not going to happen at a larger school. An international student isn’t going to have a friendship with a Vice President of an institution.”
When everything shut down last spring, Roger used that break to pursue a new passion…coaching.
Through USA Archery, Roger was awarded a grant to participate in the formation of current and future coaches with a bright future at the collegiate, national, and international levels. In this program, he studied for eight weeks under US National Head Coach Kisik Lee and USA Archery Education and Trainer, Guy Krueger. By passing this course, Roger joined a select group of National Coaches around the country as a Level 4 NTS Coach, one step away from the highest level of credential an Archery coach can achieve (Level 5 NTS).
With graduation in sight, Archery continues to be Roger’s passion.
“The sport gave me the chance to be the person I never thought I could be,” he said. “Now, I think it’s time for me to give back to the community here at EC and the sport.”
What’s next for Roger?
“I’ve always had Olympic aspirations but I’m at a crossroads as to whether it will happen as an athlete or a coach,” he said. “If it is not my path to make it as an athlete, I’m working to be on the same level (Level 5 Certification) as a coach. I want to be a part of the Olympic movement.”
What advice would he give to athletes being recruited to Emmanuel without the opportunity to visit?
“Don’t say no to Emmanuel because of its size,” he said. “At the end of your time here, you’ll have a name, a personality. Having faculty members calling you by name, knowing that your face and name go together has been great. A school may be a couple of buildings, but it’s the people who make the institution.”
Roger discovered his passion for Archery at a time when he needed an outlet. While he pursues his Olympic aspirations, he plans to give back to the sport and the community that gave him so much. He wants to give it his best shot.