Eight boys and girls from Groton and surrounding towns, ages 10 to 14, were named local champions of the Knights of Columbus Free-Throw Championship and have earned the right to compete at the district level. Sister Lydia Longley Madeleine, Council No. 13140 in Groton, sponsored the local competition held at the Peter Twomey Youth Center on Jan. 27.
Each contestant was allowed 15 free-throw attempts in the contest, with extra rounds of five free-throws held in the case of a tie. The boy's high scorer was Tyler LeClerc in the 15-year-old bracket, who was a perfect 15 of 15 at the free-throw line. Tyler is now a four-time champion of this event, winning his age group every year he has competed. On the girl's side, Gillian Lindquist and Avery Dichter, competing in the 13-year-old bracket, tied for high score, each making 11 of 15 free-throws. Gillian then won the bracket through an extra round shootoff tie breaker.
The girl's champions were Hannah Wynn in the 11-year-old bracket, Jordan Wynn in the 12-year-old bracket, and Gillian Lindquist in the 13-year-old bracket. Runnerups for the girls in the 11- and 13-old-brackets were Anna Rimkus and Avery Dichter, respectively.
The boy's winners were Bradley teDuits in the 10-year-old bracket, Connor Keegan in the 11-year-old bracket, Evan Cook in the 12-year-old bracket, Dean Tornaritis in the 13-year-old bracket, and Tyler LeClerc in the 14-year-old bracket. Runnerups for the boys in the 10- through 13-year-old brackets were Colin teDuits, Joe Bushnell, Brian Scott and Brandon Tedford.
There were many close and exciting competitions throughout the day, with 28 young boys and girls stopping by the Peter Twomey Center for the event. In the 11-year-old boy's bracket, Connor Keegan and Joe Bushnell found themselves tied at 12 shots apiece after the initial round. The competition went to the second tie-breaker round of shooting, in which Connor went five for five to edge out Joe for the win. Similarly, in the 12-year-old boy's bracket, the competition also went to a second tie-breaker round of shooting, in which Evan Cook edged out Brian Scott by one shot to win the age group. In the 13-year-old girl's bracket, Gillian edged out Avery for the win by one shot in the first tie-breaker round.
The Knights of Columbus would like to thank all participants and their parents for making the 10th anniversary of its competition a successful one. Congratulations and good luck to the winners as they move on to the district level of competition to be held in Leominster on Feb. 9, with an eye toward moving on to the Massachusetts Central Region competition to be held in March.