Redland youth third in the nation

Cierra Walker does herself proud at the national finals of NFL Pepsi Punt, Pass and Kick

INDIANAPOLIS - Cierra Walker did herself proud at the national finals of the NFL Pepsi Punt, Pass and Kick Championships, held here on Jan. 12.

The nine-year-old Redland youth improved on her qualifying score from the Seattle Seahawks Team Championship, scoring 185. The score earned Cierra third in the nation in the 8-9 girls division of the competition. She was just one point out of second place.

'I did good in all three of my events,' Cierra said. 'I was right on the line.'

The competition measures competitors' marks in punting, passing and place kicking a football, with both distance and accuracy taken into consideration. Cierra has made field goals from 25 yards out during practices at Gladstone High School, according to her dad, Cliff Walker.

Cierra was recognized along with other national age-group finalists at halftime of the Jan. 13 Indianapolis Colts vs. San Diego Chargers playoff game, which was televised on CBS.

'They gave me a little football on a stand,' Cierra said. 'It says 'Punt, Pass and Kick, third place, national finalist.''

Cierra, who made the trip to Indianapolis with her parents, Cliff and Tami Walker, brought home a number of souvenirs, including a football autographed by Seahawks all-pro lineman Walter Jones.

If Cierra has her way, her success in Punt, Pass and Kick has only just begun.

'I plan to make it to Indianapolis again and take first,' she said.

But next year's competition is a long ways away and Cierra is already putting her talents to work in other sports.

She took part in the Elks Free Throw Contest in Oregon City on Jan. 6 and won her age division. She'll compete in the second round of the competition at the Milwaukie Elks on Feb. 2.

She plays point guard and wing for a Redland Elementary School team and practices shooting at a basket outside the barn at her home in Redland.

A left-hander who also plays pitcher in softball, Cierra says she is looking forward to the day she can play for the Oregon City High School basketball team.

She says her favorite player on this year's team is Taylor Belmont.

'She's one of my friends and she did the Punt, Pass and Kick too,' Cierra said.