Above, top boys finishers (fron row L to R): Nathan Lichtle, Ethan Mooney, Derrick Dealey, Jace Vining. Back row (L to R):Turner Witten, Kalen Etzler, Carson Kreischer, Michael Etter, Wade Sheets. (Photo submitted)
The Van Wert Elks Lodge 1197 its local Hoop Shoot free throw contest on November 3 at the S.F. Goedde Building. The competition consisted of six divisions. The winner of each division advanced to the district Hoop Shoot competition to be held in Findlay on January 13.
In the girls 8 and 9-year-old division, Kendall Bollenbacher finished in first place making an impressive 17 out of 25 free throws. Carlee Young finished in second place, sinking nine baskets, and Kayla Krites finished in third place making four free throws. In the 10 and 11-year-old division, Alexis Gregory finished in first place by narrowly beating Avery McCoy by a score of 15 free throws made to 14. Bailey Gregory took third place by making 8 of 25 shots. In the 12 and 13-year-old division, Paige Motycka scorched the nets with an amazing score of 21 of 25 free throws made. Codi Miller finished second with 14 buckets, and Alissa Taylor finished in third place sinking four shots.
The boys 8 and 9-year-old boys division was dominated by Ethan Mooney who made 15 of 25 free throws to claim first place, while Nathan Lichtle finished as the runner-up making 9 shots. Turner Witten finished in third place sinking five buckets. Jace Vinning won the 10 and 11-year-old boys division by sinking an impressive 20 shots, while Carson Kreischer finished in second place narrowly beating out Kalen Etzler who finished third by a score of 16 shots made and 15 free throws respectively. In the boy's 12 and 13-year-old division, Derick Dealey turned in the best performance of the day to win with an outstanding 22 out of 25 shots made. Wade Sheets was the runner up with a very respectable score of 18 shots made, and Michael Etter finished in third place sinking 16 buckets.
Due to the generous donations of the local sponsors, Pizza Hut, Laudicks Jewelry, Lee's Ace Hardware and Lee Kinstle GM, all contestants were given T-shirts, and the top three contestants in each division were given awards. The event is put on with no charge to the contestants. Elks Hoop Shoot Director Chuck Rollins stated that "This year's event was a great success due to the efforts of all of the volunteers who helped run the event and the sponsors who provided the means to put on a first class contest with no cost to parents in our community."
The Elks National Hoop Shoot Contest is the largest sports contest in the nation by number of participants.
Winners of each event will compete in Findlay in January with a chance to advance to the state meet in Columbus in February. The Van Wert Elks Lodge #1197 would like to wish all contestant good luck in Findlay.