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Tuesday, July 9, 2013
A Shot For Life Challenge set for next month

By Brendan Hall

A Shot For Life, Inc. is pleased to announce its first annual “A Shot For Life Challenge”, to be held August 3 at 1 p.m. at the University Sports Complex, in Hanover.

Two years ago, A Shot For Life founder Mike Slonina, then a manager for the boys basketball team at Catholic Memorial School, shot a basketball inside the school’s gymnasium for an unprecedented 24 hours straight, raising nearly $30,000 for brain cancer research. The feat made headlines across the country.

Since then Slonina, a Watertown resident, started "A Shot For Life", a registered 501(c)-3 charity organization which uses the sport of basketball to raise funds for cancer research.

Next month, we are taking that same concept from Slonina’s amazing feat that day, and challenging some of the state’s top shooters to test their endurance. Eleven of the state’s best shooters from the MIAA will square off and shoot for two hours straight, with the winner determined by best field goal percentage. That player will be honored by A Shot For Life as the undisputed best shooter in Massachusetts, and will have his uniform number retired for all future events put on by the organization.

All proceeds from the A Shot For Life Challenge are going to brain cancer research at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Children’s Hospital. The participants are also looking for active sponsors for the event.

"I'm so happy to see all of these players use their athletic gifts to do a really great thing. It's so good to see a group of really tremendous shooters step up and use their talents to make a positive impact on the world outside of basketball," said Slonina, a junior at Quinnipiac University. "I think it's great that on top of being excellent shooters, all of these participants are good kids as well.

"Most of A Shot For Life's events are not competitive whatsoever, and the emphasis is really on having a good time for a good cause. This event is modeled differently. The winner is named 'The Best Shooter in Massachusetts'. That's a pretty big honor and the stakes are pretty high from a basketball standpoint for this event. The thing is, and any basketball player knows this, shooting can be very inconsistent."

The selected participants are as follows, with their numbers in parentheses:

Ben Judson, St. John’s Prep (11)
Sam Bohmiller, Franklin (1)
Tommy Mobley, Newton North (12)
Nick McKenna, Danvers (23)
Jake Foote, Duxbury (20)
Ryan Roach, Cardinal Spellman (N/A)
Vinny Clifford, Danvers (21)
Scott Arsenault, Walpole (N/A)
Mike Nelson, Bishop Feehan (2)
Shiraz Mumtaz, Brookline (30)
Tyler Gibson, Rockland (22)

"There's a very good chance that any of these players could win because all it would take is for one player to get hot for 30 minutes to really pull away," Slonina said. "If we held this competition for 11 days in a row we would probably have 11 different winners. It's my hope that all of these players feel honored that they were chosen to be a part of this.

"Nine to 12 players are going to be chosen per year for this event, and my guess is that some of these current participants will be back next year because they will still be of age. Not many shooters are going to have the privilege of putting on an ASFL jersey competitively, and that's something I hope they are proud of."

The University Sports Complex is a brand new state of the art indoor training facility that is the largest in New England. Opened in April 2013, and constructed at the former Starland miniature golf course, the facility features eight full-size hardwood basketball courts, a 132 x 40 yard turf field, full-size weight room, restaurant and an arcade.

"We are truly honored and excited to host A Shot for life this year," said Mike Marre, Director of Operations for the University Sports Complex. "It is a great idea and raises money for a good cause, while using Mike's love of basketball to make it fun for participants and spectators."

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