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Russell's Nichols Finishes Third at Regional Elks Hoop Shoot

Emerson Nichols of Russell at Regional Elks Hoop Shoot 3-11-17Emerson Nichols, a 13-year-old seventh grader at Ruppenthal Middle School in Russell, competed in the Elks Hoop Shoot Region 8 Contest on Saturday, March 11 in Denver, Colorado.

Nichols finished third in the girls 12-13 age division and just missed a trip to the national competition in April in Chicago.

Nichols qualified for Regional Contest after winning the Local Contest in Russell on January 7, District Contest in Pratt on January 21 and State Contest on February 4 in Bel Aire, just outside of Wichita.

The Elks National Free Throw Contest, known as the Elks Hoop Shoot, is the largest and most visible of the many youth activities sponsored by Elks lodges throughout the country. Over 3,000,000 boys and girls between the ages of 8 through 13 will participate this year according to the program's website.

From the millions of youngsters who participate, six national champions are named – one boy and one girl – in each of three categories: ages 8-9, 10-11 and 12-13. The winners each receive a trophy and their names are inscribed at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.

At each level, contestants take a total of 25 free throws. National finalists average around 90 percent. Families participate with contestants throughout the competition. The parents of finalists on the state, regional and national levels attend the competitions as guests of the Elks.

Emerson is the daughter of Matt and Beverly Nichols of Russell, and has two proud older brothers – Gage, who is a Junior at Kansas State University, and Brooks, who is a Junior at Russell High School. She is the granddaughter of Jack and Connie Nichols of Russell and John and Linda Annan, as well as the late Marge Annan, of Onaga.

Nichols was a member of the RMS girls basketball team that finished second in the league this season. She has been playing basketball ever since she started in the Russell Recreation league in second grade and has played each year on a team, the Russell Brigade, coached by her father and made up of Russell girls in her grade. They played in more than 100 games between their third and sixth grade years while working on fundamentals and learning the importance of teamwork.

(Information and photo courtesy Matt Nichols and Elks Hoop Shoot.)

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