Shoot for the Stars—Finalist Fest

2022 BackBoard

The Hoop Shoot Alumni Advisory Board, a.k.a. the BackBoard is made up of past National Finalists. They will join us for the Hoop Shoot National Finals where they serve as volunteers, leaders, and role models to the 72 National Finalists.

We're delighted to announce the 2022 Hoop Shoot Alumni Advisory Board, a.k.a. the BackBoard! These 10 past National Finalists will join us for the 50th anniversary Hoop Shoot National Finals where they will serve as volunteers, leaders, and role models to this year’s 72 National Finalists. Get to know these incredible Hoop Shoot alumni below.

Lakyn Boltz

College: University of Iowa—Alum

Sponsoring Lodge: Keokuk, Iowa, Lodge No. 106

National Finals Appearance: 2006, 8-9 Girls; 2007, 10-11 Girls; 2008, 10-11 Girls

National Finals Score: 1st place, 24/25—Frank Hise National Champion, 6th place, 19/25; 2nd place, 21/25

About: Lakyn made it to the National Finals not once, not twice but three times. The 2006 Frank Hise National Champion says the Hoop Shoot set the tone for who she wanted to be as a student athlete and as a person. Lakyn learned to prioritize what’s important to her, including giving back. She’s been in the Finalists’ shoes several times, and she’s excited to use that perspective to make this year’s Finals a memorable experience for all of them.

Meet Lakyn on the ENFtoYou Summer Series: The Hoop Shoot Show.

Advice for 2022 National Finalists:

“Take a deep breath, relax and enjoy the experience!”

Zeb Alford

College: North Carolina State University-Alum

Sponsoring Lodge: Raleigh, N.C., Lodge No. 735

National Finals Appearance: 2008, 12-13 Boys; 2009, 12-13 Boys

National Finals Score: 9th place, 19/25; 1st place, 23/25—Frank Hise National Champion

About: Zeb made 23 of 25 free throws at the 2009 Hoop Shoot National Finals—then he went on to sink 74 more. Zeb set the record for the longest shoot-off after tying with another Finalist for first; they went shot-for-shot for 75 additional baskets. Because of that, Zeb believes there’s nothing he can’t accomplish. When he faces a challenge, Zebulon thinks back to the Hoop Shoot and remembers that consistent hard work pays off. He’s excited to share his story with the Finalists and be a part of their once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Zeb is a member of the inaugural class of the Elks Hoop Shoot Hall of Fame.

Advice for 2022 National Finalists:

“Stay focused. Be proud of your accomplishment. ”

Thomas Welch

College: Clemson University

Sponsoring Lodge: Fort Mill, S.C., Lodge No. 2859

National Finals Appearance: 2011, 10-11 Boys

National Finals Score: 11th place, 15/25

About: Thomas is preaching to the choir that practice is essential for success. An aspiring pastor, he has faith in how developing a strong work ethic through practicing for the Hoop Shoot translates to a strong work ethic in the real world. He’s been a youth leader for years, and he believes that experience will help him encourage the 2022 Hoop Shoot National Finalists.

Advice for 2022 National Finalists:

“Enjoy the moment. Don’t worry about what would happen if you fail. Just trust your form and preparation and have a good time. Your worth is not based on how many free throws you can make at Nationals.”

Ashley Holder

College: University of Toledo

Sponsoring Lodge: Hamilton, Ohio, Lodge No. 93

National Finals Appearance: 2009, 10-11 Girls

National Finals Score: 3rd place, 22/25

About: In 2009, Ashley stepped up to the line at the National Finals and missed three of her first 10 shots. She learned to never give up on herself. She stepped back up and sank 15/15. The Hoop Shoot gave Ashley the confidence to step out of her comfort zone, and she is honored to be a part of this moment for the 2022 Finalists.

Advice for 2022 National Finalists:

“Make the most of this incredible opportunity.”




Crystal Bell

College: Husson University

Sponsoring Lodge: Bangor, Maine, Lodge No. 244

National Finals Appearance: 2014, 12-13 Girls

National Finals Score: 7th place, 20/25

About: Channeling determination is like looking into a crystal ball for Crystal Bell—it’s the key to the future. She shot hundreds of free throws every day to make it to the National Finals, and she’s predicting that philosophy of persistence will pay off for the tennis youth she coaches today. The Hoop Shoot was full of good fortune for Crystal, and she’s volunteered at local and regional contests since her time as a Finalist. As a member of the BackBoard, she sees herself bringing positivity and encouragement to the 2022 Finalists.

Advice for 2022 National Finalists:

“Spend less time worrying about the competition and more time focusing on the experience of being at the National Finals. Reflect on how the experience makes you feel, and try to give to others an overwhelming sense of love and joy.”

Peyton Cahill

College: University of Rhode Island

Sponsoring Lodge: Woonsocket, R.I., Lodge No. 850

National Finals Appearance: 2016, 12-13 Girls

National Finals Score: 5th place, 20/25

About: Persistence is Peyton’s power. For years, she never advanced past the state competition, but Peyton didn’t give up. She made a plan and shot 25 free throws every day. Practice made perfect, and in her final year of eligibility, she made it to the National Finals. It’s mind over matter for Peyton, too. Confidence was critical for this Cahill—her brother is fellow BackBoard member, TJ—and as a woman involved in sports, she hopes to connect with and instill confidence in other female athletes.

Meet Peyton and her brother TJ in Season 2, Episode 6 of Hoop Shooting the Breeze.

Advice for 2022 National Finalists:

“Be aware of your mindset! Though practicing frequently and consistently is crucial to success, it is also very important to have confidence in your ability to succeed. ”

Elise Besonen

College: University of Wisconsin-Superior

Sponsoring Lodge: Copper Country, Mich., Lodge No. 404

National Finals Appearance: 2015, 10-11 Girls; 2016, 12-13 Girls; 2017, 12-13 Girls

National Finals Score: 2nd place, 23/25; 3rd place, 21/25, 13/25; 7th place, 21/25

About: Elise knows the Hoop Shoot like the back of her hand. A three-time National Finalist, Elise returned year after year as a competitor, and later, to (silently) cheer on her younger sisters. The repetitive dribbling of a ball is like the ticking of a clock—time management is just one skill Elise took from the Hoop Shoot, and she attributes it to her success in school and athletics. Another is a commitment to the grind: Elise knows practice makes perfect, and the grind leads to grit.

Meet Elise and her younger sisters in the Griteo: Family Ties.

Advice for 2022 National Finalists:

“You’ve put in so much work to get to this point, so just enjoy the experience and have faith in your practice. It may seem like a cliché thing to say, but have fun! Moments like these don’t happen every day, so live it to the fullest.”

TJ Cahill

BackBoard Member Since: 2018

College: Springfield College

Sponsoring Lodge: Woonsocket, R.I., Lodge No. 850

National Finals Appearance: 2012, 12-13 Boys

National Finals Score: 4th place, 22/25

About: TJ takes life one step at a time—and one step closer to his goals. TJ’s dedication to goal-setting stems from tracking his progress in the Hoop Shoot competition. TJ brings a dual perspective to the 2022 National Finals; he knows what it’s like to be a Finalist and a family member of one—his sister competed in 2016! TJ wants to make sure this year’s Finalists look back and see how amazing their accomplishment truly is.

Meet TJ and his sister Peyton in Season 2, Episode 6 of Hoop Shooting the Breeze.

Advice for 2022 National Finalists:

“Breathe.”


Jon Cloud

BackBoard Member Since: 2018

College: Washburn University

Sponsoring Lodge: Topeka, Kan., Lodge No. 204

National Finals Appearance: 2010, 10-11 Boys

National Finals Score: 5th place, 19/25

About: Gritty to the core, this Kansan has overcome a lot in his life. His first Hoop Shoot, he took last place in his Lodge contest. With discipline and hard work, he bounced back and made it all the way to the National Finals. In 2015, he battled mycoplasma pneumonia, which left him in a coma for 10 days. He had to relearn how to walk and talk, which took a lot of discipline and hard work—skills he had been developing since his time with the Hoop Shoot.

Advice for 2022 National Finalists:

“Soak up every moment because you will remember this forever.”



Madigan Moore

BackBoard Member Since: 2019

College: Augustana University

Sponsoring Lodge: Rapid City, S.D., Lodge No. 1187

National Finals Appearance: 2006, 8-9 Girls

National Finals Score: 7th place, 20/25

About: Madigan might have traded the gym for the library and basketballs for books on her pursuit to doctorhood, but the Hoop Shoot still holds a dear place in her heart. It’s the reason she has the courage to fail and the discipline to focus and put in the long hours. Madigan is excited to pass the gift of the Hoop Shoot forward by serving as a role model to this year’s Finalists. She’s ready to share her words of wisdom and we’re sure the Finalists will be all ears.

Meet Madigan on the series premiere of Hoop Shooting the Breeze.

Advice for 2022 National Finalists:

“Be courageous! It takes courage to try and to succeed!”



Additional Alumni Opportunities

Rebounders

Jacobi with Regional Director Dick Blinn Too old to compete and too young to serve on the BackBoard?! Rebounders offer Hoop Shoot alumni the opportunity to stay involved by serving at their Lodge, District, State and Regional contests. For more information, please contact us at hoopshoot@elks.org.

Jacobi Lafferty, a 2017 Hoop Shoot National Champion, volunteered at the Vermont State Contest as a Rebounder. Read Jacobi's blog, "Sometimes You Miss Your First Shot," on the Elks National Foundation Blog.

Contact the Hoop Shoot office at hoopshootd@elks.org if you have any questions or would like further information.


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