Harvest Park Middle School eighth-grader Collin Travasos competed in the National Football League (NFL) Punt, Pass and Kick national finals last weekend in Washington state, earning a fourth-place finish in his age group.
Representing the Oakland Raiders in the boys 12-13 division, 13-year-old Travasos advanced through local, sectional and team championship rounds in the contest that tests youngsters' football skills in punting, throwing and placekicking.
The Pleasanton teen was one of 40 boys and girls from 23 states, among five different age groups, to earn a spot in the national finals held last weekend at Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, Wash.
"The Seattle Seahawks' practice facility (where the national competition was held) was really nice," Travasos said. "It was actually pretty nice that the other competitors and I got along so well. There wasn't a real feeling of competition. I think we all realized that it was just a great overall experience."
In the finals, participants launched two punts, two passes and two kicks with scores based on distance and accuracy for their best result in each category.
Travasos came in fourth in the boys 12-13 division with a combined score of 323 feet, 3 inches. The division winner was Dylan Downing of Lenexa, Kan., with a score of 375 feet, 7 inches.
The national champions (one boy and one girl for each age group) were recognized on national television during halftime of the Seattle Seahawks' 31-17 victory over the Carolina Panthers in the NFC divisional playoff round Saturday evening.
All 40 national finalists received airfare, hotel accommodations and tickets to the Seahawks-Panthers game, according to competition organizers.
"The best part about the day was running onto the Seahawks field at halftime," Travasos said. "The cheerleaders were there, and we all got to throw the ball on the game field. I remember thinking it was so loud, but then again, it was Seattle! I saw Russell Wilson and Luke Willson as we were just about to leave the field."
This year marked the 53rd annual NFL Punt, Pass and Kick competition. Notable past participants included Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Dan Marino as well as current San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.