100 million or bust: Craig’s Adrian Profumo plans to shoot for the stars at state level of Elks free throw contest
The old joke about getting to Carnegie Hall can apply to virtually any big-time venue, and Craig’s Adrian Profumo knows it comes down to one word — practice.
The district round of the annual Elks National Hoop Shoot Free Throw Contest brought young basketball players to Glenwood Springs Jan. 13 as they steadied themselves at the free throw line to move on to the state level.
Adrian won the competition’s division for 8- to 9-year-old girls, sinking 14 of 25 shots.
The total was a big jump from the six she hit during December’s local round, which the Ridgeview Elementary School third-grader credits to spending lots of time in preparation, as well as carefully keeping track of her competition’s performance.
“All the people in front of me, I counted how many they made, and then I tried to make more than that,” she said.
Though Adrian, 9, was the only one of the six Craig contestants to win her age group, all of them were in the top three.
With 12 makes, Teryn Carter was only one free throw behind Rifle’s Ellee Hinckley to place second among 10- and 11-year-old girls. For boys and 8 and 9, Brodie Wooden hit 11 shots in the initial round, then netted another 10 of 15 in triple overtime to break a tie for second.
Jayden Evenson was 10 for 25 for boys 10 and 11, placing third.
For the 12 and 13 group, Cort Murphy and Jacie Evenson both have gone to state or higher in prior years, though their final time shooting for the Elks ended with Murphy in second, 15 for 25, and Jacie in third at 16 for 25.
The state event will take place Feb. 24 in Salida, and Adrian aims to make it to the next tier, which is regionals. Though she’d prefer to make every single shot she attempts — as much as 100 million, in her own words — her goal is at least 20.
Again, the key is practice, and with permission from Ridgeview physical education teacher Shannon Samuelson and Principal John Haddan, she spent many hours in the school gym working on her shooting.
“Miss Sam and Mr. Haddan let me do that every morning before school starts,” she said.
Her mother, Jessica, who also works at the school, attested that her daughter’s efforts in the gym were extensive.
“I have to be there early anyway, but she goes in there and works at it every day until they kick her out,” she said.
With an above-average snowpack following a snowy winter, local firefighters and wildlife experts are expecting a mild fire season this year, especially at higher elevations.