Mata‘afa qualifies for national Punt, Pass & Kick competition
LAHAINA — Lalelei Mata‘afa has qualified to compete in the national NFL Punt, Pass & Kick (PPK) competition.
The national event will be held in January at a NFL playoff game.
Mata‘afa, 11, on Dec. 20 won her age division (10/11) at the regional contest at Qualcomm Stadium and watched the San Diego Chargers beat the Cincinnati Bengals.
Lalelei finished with a score of 300 feet — 117-foot pass, 86-foot punt and 97-foot kick — in the contest at San Diego.
Her scores were higher than everyone in the competition except for the first and second place 15-year-old boys.
The daughter of Sama and Sophie Mata‘afa of Lahaina is a sixth-grader at Lahaina Intermediate School.
Sophie said, “All of Hawaii should be proud to have a national competitor as a native. She works at these skills year-round in Lahaina.”
Lalelei has been coached by her dad and brothers Saumalu and Hercules to her phenomenal skill levels.
She won the national PPK competition in 2008 and came in fifth place in 2009.
One of seven children, Lalelei is a straight “A” scholar in school and a well-rounded athlete in all sports, including wrestling, soccer and basketball.
She gives back to her community by junior coaching with AYSO soccer and walking community safety patrols in Lahaina with her dad.
More than four million children around the country compete in NFL Punt, Pass & Kick. Lalelei is Hawaii’s first national champion.