Students compete in local free-throw championship

by TaLeiza Calloway –

Nathional Basketball Association All-Star LeBron James needs to be on the lookout for Jon Ethen. In a matter of years he could be sharing the basketball court with him. If it was up to Ethen, they would be teammates.

Ethen, 13, of  St. Joseph, was one of nine youths who participated in a free-throw championship Jan. 27 at All Saints Academy. The local event is hosted by the St. Joseph Council of the Knights of Columbus. Boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 14 were competing at the local level in hopes of advancing to the district championship to be held in Sartell later this month.
The Knights of Columbus Free-throw Championship is sponsored annually with winners progressing through local, district and state competition. International champions are announced by the Knights of Columbus international headquarters based on scores from state-level competitions.
Students took three practice shots and then had to shoot 15 free throws. At the district level, participants will make 25 shots to see who advances to the state championship, Mark Berg-Arnold said. Berg-Arnold is a member of the St. Joseph Council of the Knights of Columbus and organized the event Jan. 27.
Ethen said this was his third year participating in the event. He enjoys it every time.
“I’ve been playing since third grade,” he said of his love for the sport.
When asked if it’s hard to shoot 15 free throws in a row, his response was easy: “No.”
It wasn’t hard for Hallie Hupf, Abbey Medelberg or Maggie O’Donnell of St. Joseph, either.
This was their first year participating in the free-throw championships. The girls were glad they came.
“It was fun,” Hupf said.
For O’Donnell, basketball is her recreation so she was eager to participate in the recent championship.  The 11-year-old advanced to the district level.
Knights of Columbus member Vince DeVargas of St. Joseph said the children enjoy the championship every year. More than anything, they like shooting the ball around.
“It’s about getting them active and getting them involved,” DeVargas said. “Children like to compete.”
The district-level championship will be held Sunday, Feb. 10 at St. Francis Xavier School in Sartell. Practice is at 12:30 p.m. with the event starting at 1 p.m. St. Joseph participants who will advance to the district championship include Medelberg, O’Donnell, Ethen and Cooper Gerads.
[/media-credit] Jon Ethen, 13, of St. Joseph prepares to shoot the ball during the 2013 Knights of Columbus Free-throw Championship Jan. 27 in St. Joseph. The annual event was held at All Saints Academy.

[/media-credit] Mark Berg-Arnold, a member of the St. Joseph Council of the Knights of Columbus, explains the rules to participants in the annual free-throw championship at All Saints Academy Jan. 27.

[/media-credit] Trophies sit on a table Jan. 27 during the 2013 Knights of Columbus Free-throw Championship in St. Joseph.

[/media-credit] Hallie Hupf, 11, of St. Joseph shoots the ball during the 2013 Knights of Columbus Free-throw Championship Jan. 27 at All Saints Academy.


TaLeiza Calloway

TaLeiza Calloway is a professional journalist in Central Minnesota. Her byline has appeared in the St. Cloud Times and Central Minnesota Women Magazine. The Ohio native moved to Minnesota about four years ago. She joined the St. Joseph Newsleader staff as a reporter in November 2011.
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