Big Island Youngsters to Compete in NFL PPK National Finals
Three Big Island kids will be in Washington state this weekend to compete in the finals of the National Football League’s Punt, Pass, and Kick competition.
The competition, held this Saturday, is in advance of the NFC Divisional Round playoff game between the Carolina Panthers and the Seattle Seahawks.
Ho’okena’s Jarom Alani, Tylana Abraham of Kailua-Kona, and Kealakekua resident Jayla Medeiros each made it to the finals with one of the top four scores in their respective divisions. In reaching the final round, the participants and their guests each received airfare, hotel accomodations, and tickets to the playoff game.
Alani competes in the Boys 8-9 year old division. His brother, Jason, won national competitions each of the last two years, winning the Boys 10-11 title in Denver last and the Boys 8-9 division the year prior in Baltimore. Jason won the San Diego competition in the Boys 12-13 year old division, but did not score well enough to reach the finals.
Abraham will be participating in the Girls 8-9 year old division. In 2012, Medeiros won the national championship in that very division.
Medeiros has had a lot of success in PPK competition. She won the 2010 competition in the inaugural Girls 6-7 year old division, prior to her 2012 national victory. Her qualifying score of 284 feet was good enough to make it to the national competition.
Another Big Island participant, Nakoa Ige of Kailua-Kona, won the San Diego regional competition for the Boys 6-7 year old age group. His score was not good enough to make it to Seattle, however.
In the finals, which will be held at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, Wash., each participant will have two punts, two passes, and two kicks to achieve an overall score, which is based on distance and accuracy, measured in feet.
All three participants will be representing the San Diego Chargers during the event. Each winner will be recognized on the field during Saturday’s game.