February 22, 2018

Youth invited to participate in annual free-throw contest

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MIO –– Boys and girls aged 9-14 are invited to participate in the annual Youth Free Throw Championship Saturday, Jan. 13, hosted by the Knights of Columbus at Fairview Area Schools.

Participants will be able to shoot hoops at no cost in the local level of the competition and will be separated into several age divisions. Winners of each bracket will progress through district, regional and state competitions following the Mio event, according to Grand Knight Paul Lyden, who is helping to coordinate the event with Youth Director Andrew Lashley.

“The contest here has been going on for 30-plus years in Oscoda County,” he said. “Any one year we get anywhere from 10-25 kids coming to the event and we’ve had several state winners and numerous regional and district winners. We actually one year had an international winner (from the area).”

Last year, more than 179,000 participated in more than 3,000 local competitions across the states, according to a press release.

“Kids have a fun time doing it so it sharpens their skills in shooting free throws,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of basketball games get a loss at the free-throw line.”

All contestants at the local level will be recognized with a patch for their participation in the event, and winners will take home trophies.

Lyden said the winners from the local competition will move on to districts, which usually has two to five kids per age bracket. From there, the winners of districts move on to regionals with eight to 10 kids in each age bracket. Following that competition, there is the state level competition, which tends to see between 9 and 10 kids participating.

He said he is most looking forward to seeing the kids compete and enjoy themselves while honing a skill that can be used for fun.

“Over the years, I’ve gotten to know a lot of the kids and their parents,” Lyden said. “I’ve run into some parents and I was there when their kids competed 20 years ago, and I always ask how they’re doing. It’s interesting to see how they progress through the years because some of them enter as a 9-year-old and then go all the way through to being 14, so that’s six years of competition where you’ll see them. One year they’ll do pretty good, the next year they might do not so good.”

The competition will begin at 1 p.m. and doors will open at 12:30 p.m. for pre-competition warm-ups. Entry forms for the contest are available at the principal’s offices of Mio and Fairview schools as well as at the competition site at Fairview Area Schools, located at 1879 E. Miller Rd.

For more information, contact Lyden at 989-848-5668.

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