By JORIE MEIL – An IHS student competed in the championship round of the Punt, Pass & Kick competition that is hosted by the NFL. While most of us were sitting at home twiddling our thumbs, playing video games, or doing last minute homework, freshman Allie Coker was in Orlando, Florida competing in the annual Punt, Pass & Kick Championship. She was joined by four other competitors in her age category to see who could punt, pass, and kick a football the farthest, and the most accurate. Coker came in fourth place in the competition.
This is Coker’s seventh time competing for the trophy. Students from ages 6-15 participate in their respective age divisions for the title. The competition starts locally at the participant’s school. After that, the competition progresses to a larger scale, in Coker’s case that was Heinz Field. This was Coker’s first time reaching the championship level.
Coker had a great experience at this year’s competition saying, “I made new friends and became more consistent on my kicking.”
The event also gave Coker the chance to meet other students from all over the country who have the same interest in this competition as she does. She was also given the opportunity to improve all of the skills that the competition tested. One of Coker’s fellow students freshman Ariana Goodyear said, “If she works at it, this competition could help her become a great athlete.” Also getting to spend a few days at Disneyland made the experience all the much better.
Coker has received recognition all around town for having participated in this competition. The Indiana Gazette published an article about her accomplishment, and Coker’s teachers and friends have been supporting her in this competition as well. She even told of walking into her English class and learning that her teacher put the article on her desk as a way of recognizing her achievement. Also, at her most recent basketball game, Coker’s achievement was also recognized. They made a short announcement congratulating her, and also wishing her luck before she left for Florida.
Many of Coker’s classmates and friends were cheering her on from home. Though they couldn’t be at the competition rooting her on from the stands, they were very excited for her to have this experience. One of Coker’s friends, freshman Lola Van Leer commented, “She really deserves this considering she has made it to to the level at Heinz Field two years in a row.”
Win or lose, Allie Coker’s advancement to the championship round of the NFL Punt, Pass & Kick Competition was an accomplishment that should be celebrated. Coker says, “You can win all of the prizes in the world, but the one you’ll keep forever is the memories.” This is an experience that she will most certainly never forget.
[Photo courtesy of Allie Coker]