Three Big Island youngsters have qualified for the NFL’s Punt, Pass &Kick Contest national finals slated for Jan. 11 in Denver.
The trio includes Jason “AJ” Alani from Captain Cook, Nalukea Kamakea from Mountain View, and Jayla Medeiros from Kealakekua. Alani and Medeiros have previously won national titles in their age groups.
They Big Islanders qualified for the nationals by finishing among the top four nationally after regional competition. Alani, Kamakea and Medeiros competed in a regional this past month in San Diego. Alani, 11, placed first in the boys’ 10-11 division with a combined score of 342 feet, 9 inches. Kamakea, 9, won the boys’ 8-9 division with a combined score of 242 feet, 8 inches.
Medeiros, 10, placed first in the girls’ 10-11 division with a combined score of 269 feet, 8 inches. Medeiros is in the younger age bracket going into the nationals for the respected age groups.
Heading into the national finals and based on their regional scores, Alani is ranked No. 1 in his age group; Kamakea, No. 4; and Medeiros, No. 2.
During the regional competition in San Diego, PPK officials announced that more than 3 million youngsters nationwide competed in the popular contest leading up to the national finals.