Nashua’s Sola ready for Elks Regional Hoop Shoot in Maine

State Elks Hoop Shoot champion Arianna Sola, an 11 year old from Nashua, will be one of 36 boys and girls taking part in Saturday morning’sNew England Regional Championships in Portland, Maine.

The contest, which is open to the public, will start at 9:15 a.m. The New England Regional Hoop Shoot is one of 12 being held nationwide to determine the 72 national finalists. This is the fourth level of competition.

Eleven years ago, the Greater Nashua Elks boosted its first National Hoop Shoot champion when then-Hudson 12-year-old Caleb Donnelly won the 12-13 Boys Division to be crowned a national champion.

Now in its 44th year, the Elks Hoop Shoot free throw contest has grown into the largest co-educational sports program in the country, allowing boys and girls to compete separately in three age-groups, 8-9, 10-11, and 12-13. Each contest consists of 25 free throws. Over one million boys and girls have competed in this year’s program. The six winners from New England will have a chance to stake their claim to one of six coveted spots on the Elks Hoop Shoot plaque in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.

Regional headquarters for the three-day event will be the Double Tree Hotel where over 250 Elks, parents, state champions and Hoop Shoot officials are expected to congregate for the weekend activities.

Friday evening, the regional champions and their families will be treated to a Get Acquainted Pizza Party from 5:30-6:30 PM. On Saturday Morning, all will be bussed to the Portland Lodge of Elks for the ‘Breakfast of Champions’ and then on to Westbrook High School for the Regional Hoop Shoot Contest. The Awards Banquet will be held back at the Double Tree Hotel at 5 p.m. with a speaking and awards program. A Sunday morning breakfast will be served for all the departing guests. Richard Blinn of Massachusetts, is the New England Director of the Region 6 Elks Hoop Shoot.

Sola will be joined by the other five state Elks champions – 9-year-old Katie Yeaton of Portsmouth, 9-year-old Luke Diamond of Plymouth, 11-year-old Jordon Sharpe of Derry/Salem, 13-year-old Kelsey Wheeler of Claremont and 13-year-old Cameron Pollock of Manchester – in their quest to advance to April’s Elks National Hoop Shoot Finals in Chicago.