1/28/2014 10:44:00 AM Three Williams kids move on to compete in district Elks Hoop Shoot
Shaelee Echeverria, 9, of Williams, takes a warm-up shot Jan. 18 during the Chino Valley Elks Hoop Shoot at Heritage Middle School gym in Chino Valley, where she took first in her age category for girls. Salina Sialega/Chino Valley Review
Salina Sialega Chino Valley Review
Williams youth made a good showing at their first Elks Hoop Shoot free-throw contest Jan. 18 in Chino Valley, with three taking first place and moving on to the district competition Feb. 1, also in Chino Valley.
Taking a total of 25 free throws each to win first place were winners Shaelee Echeverria in the Girls 8-9 Division, Jesus Salazar in the Boys 8-9 Division and Alaina Karlsberger in the Girls 12-13 Division, all from Williams.
Winners received a medal and a certificate from President Beverly Swanty of the Chino Valley Elks, whose club sponsored the Shoot.
Other first-place winners were Daviren Passmore and Seth Jelovic from Chino Valley in the 10-11 Divisions for girls and boys respectively.
First-place winners will advance to the Elks Northwest District competition on Feb. 1 against competitors from 11 other Elks lodges, along with winners in age categories up to age 13 in both boys and girls categories.
The Chino Valley Elks will also put on the district competition at the Heritage gym, and will send winners to the state competition on Feb. 8 in Apache Junction, Ariz., regionals Feb. 22 in Las Vegas and nationals on April 12 in Springfield, Mass., with trophies and various prizes along the way, including a top prize of the winners' names being entered in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
The Chino Elks started with competitions at the school level in October at Williams elementary and middle schools, as well as schools in Chino Valley. Twenty-nine students won spots to compete in the Jan. 18 Hoop Shoot, and their parents received letters inviting them.
Elks required silence in the gym as competitors took a total of 25 shots each in addition to warm-up shots. Competitors ages 10 and older used the court's free-throw line and 8- and 9-year-olds used a closer line marked with blue tape.
From the youngest on up, competitors showed serious concentration and motivation.
Elks lodges pay for the top winners and their parents to travel to each competition, including airfare to nationals in Massachusetts.
The Elks sponsor Hoop Shoots across the country to provide "youth an opportunity to compete, connect and succeed."
More information about the Hoop Shoot program is available at the Elks' website at www.elks.org/hoopshoot.