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Kicking World Blog

2019 Kicking World National Showcase Recap

by Kicking World owner Brent Grablachoff
kicking showcase winners

The 2019 Kicking World Invite-Only National Showcase took place on December 7-8, 2019 at Round Rock Dragon Stadium in Austin, TX. 60 kickers & punters from 22 states...

2019 National Showcase (Day 2) Overall Winners

The sixth installment of the Kicking World National Showcase was undoubtedly our best ever. The staff did a tremendous job all weekend to make this the most efficiently run event in Kicking World’s 13-year history. We’re very thankful to have hard-working people around us contributing to the vision of helping each student reach their full potential.

Sixty campers from 22 states made the journey to Austin, Texas for the annual invite-only event held at Round Rock Dragon Stadium (capacity 9,000) just outside of the state’s Capitol. These 60 young men were a select group of only 98 students hand-picked from the over 1,500 campers we evaluated during the 2019 camp season, putting them in the top ~7% of HS kickers and punters from across the country.

The event is a pivotal opportunity for elite high school specialists to not only make an impact on the camp staff but also garner the attention of college football coaches through the YouTube Live Broadcast which drew in over 1,500 viewers this year. 

In the prior 5 years of our invite-only National Showcase, over 30 college scholarship offers were received within 2 weeks following this event! That trend continued as during and immediately following the event I had multiple texts, emails, and voicemails from close to a dozen college football coaches, from various levels including D1 (FBS & FCS).

In this Showcase Recap article, I will highlight the top performers from both days and introduce to you the newest Hot Prospects joining our comprehensive List of the top prep kickers & punters in the nation. College coaches utilize our Hot Prospect List as an efficient and reliable source for their specialist recruiting efforts.

kickingworld showcase team photo2019 National Showcase Team Photo

DAY 1 CHARTING COMPETITIONS

Kickoffs

The Day 1 Kickoff Charting session is historically the toughest of the two days’ 6 events at our annual National Showcase. Between the brand new footballs fresh out of the wrapper and with it being early in the day and still cold, the variables are stacked against the campers. Nonetheless, new Hot Prospect K/P Cole Hollingsworth (2021 – Kentucky) came out on top striking a nice balance of distance and kickoffs with the most effective trajectory to counter the knock-down wind.

Top 5 Kickoffs:

Senior K/P Vito Calvaruso had a commanding hang time lead with multiple kicks in the 4.0-4.19 second range, but his high kicks were getting pulled down by the wind thus affecting his distances (on Day 1 at least). Of the Top 10 kickoff finishers, 6 are Hot Prospects.

See how each participant placed on Day 1 – Kickoff Charting results

cole hollingsworth kickerDay 1 Overall Kickoff Winner (Cole Hollingsworth – 2021 Kentucky)

Punts

robert gunn punter

Day 1 Overall Punt Winner (Robert Gunn III – 2022 Florida)

We got to witness a ‘Gunn Show’ with KW Hot Prospect Robert Gunn III cleaning up shop on Day 1. The sophomore Class of 2022 kicker/punter from Pinellas Park HS in Florida led the pack on Punt Charting averaging an impressive 40 yard net distance with multiple punts in the mid 4 second range even with a swirling wind significantly impacting hang times.

Top 5 Punters:

  • Robert Gunn III (2021 – FL) winner
  • Samuel Harker (2022 – OR)
  • Jacob Willig (2020 – CO)
  • Cole Segraves (2022 – KS)
  • Eli Gehman (2020 – TX)

Sophomore K/P Sam Harker out of Sunset HS in Oregon and Hot Prospect Senior K/P Jacob Willig out of Rocky Mountain HS in Colorado hit several balls well into the mid 4’s hang times finishing #2 and #3 overall respectively on Day 1.

See how each participant placed on Day 1 – Punt Charting results

Field Goals

kicking competition

Day 1 FG Charting (last 6 standing – Wesley, Jacob, Jorge, Landon, Robert, Desi)

As if Robert Gunn III’s Punt competition win wasn’t enough, he also perfected the Field Goal Charting session making all 8 kicks consecutively with a 55 yarder to finish as the Overall Winner of Day 1 Field Goal Charting! Only a sophomore, Robert has been getting quite a bit of interest since turning in a very impressive performance.

We had a 5-Way tie for FG runner-up with these young men who made perfect kicks through 50 yards but fell just short on the 55 yarder that RGIII was able to sneak in:

See how each participant placed on Day 1 – Field Goal Charting results

robert gunn kickerDay 1 Overall Field Goal Winner (Robert Gunn III – 2022 Florida)

kicking showcase winners(Day 1) Overall Winners – Robert Gunn III (FG/P) & Cole Hollingsworth (KO)

Sponsors/Donations – Thank You

Thanks to long-time KW student and current Miami Dolphins Kicker Jason Sanders for signing footballs, helmets, and football cards as awesome prizes for the event winners. Thank you Mike & Todd at Wizard Sports for the several Wizard Kicking Stix prize donations and for supporting our camps for over 12 years now. Thanks to our partner Under Armour for supplying all the footballs used at camp. Thanks to Hydralyte for keeping our campers hydrated with their very effective electrolyte drink.

kicking competition prizes Awards Table Loaded with awesome Prizes for Competition Winners!

DAY 2 ELIMINATION COMPETITIONS

Kickoff Eliminations

We weren’t sure who, if anyone would or even could step up to the insane level of kickoffs we’ve grown accustomed to watching from long-time Hot Prospect Jared Zirkel – ever since joining Kicking World in middle school he’s won almost every Kickoff competition he’s been a part of. The University of Georgia commit sat out this Showcase opting to rest his leg before heading to Athens, GA to embark on his college career later this spring. Zirk did come out to support his comrades on Day 2 as he’s made friendships with multiple campers over the 6 years of attending Kicking World camps. 

vito calvaruso kicker

Day 2 Overall Kickoff Champion (Vito Calvaruso – 2020 Missouri)

As far as finding someone to fill the Zirkel kickoff void, the call was answered by Class of 2020 K/P Vito Calvaruso from Helias Catholic in Missouri. He did have an impressive Day 1 kickoff performance finishing #3 overall, but the senior really shined on Day 2. His kickoff average was 69 yards / 3.88 seconds with a ‘best ball’ of 80 yards / 4.0 seconds. He was the only kicker to hit the distance/hang time requirement on his FIRST attempt at each of the first 5 rounds of the 6 Round Battle.

Only two other students made it to Round 6 and it was a real showdown between the 3 young men. Hot Prospects Alejandro Chavarria (2020 – Texas) and Robert Gunn III (2022 – Florida) helped force a final round Best Ball where the winner would take all. 

Alejandro crushed one at 4.0 seconds but the ball got stuck up in the wind just falling short on distance. Then Robert bombed a 68 yard / 3.75 kick which looked to be in contention for the lead. But on their second kicks, Alejandro blasted one 73 yards / 3.84 seconds and Robert was eliminated. This left us with Vito for the final kick. If he could beat Alejandro’s ball he would take the crown as Day 2 Kickoff Elimination Winner. In a dramatic finish, Vito sent the ball 80 yards through the uprights with a 4.0 second hang time. It was simply incredible and an exciting way to end our first competition of the day!

kicking competition kickingworldDay 2 Kickoff Eliminations (last 3 standing – Vito, Robert, Alejandro)

Besides these 3 heavy hitters, finishing #4 and 5 overall respectively, Class of 2020 Hot Prospects Kaedin Steindorf (Oregon) and Jacob Willig (Colorado) hit multiple kickoffs deep with impressive hang times both days of the competition and showed D1 leg strength. 

See how each participant placed on Day 2 – Kickoff Elimination results

Punt Eliminations

It really wasn’t even close on Day 2 Punting. Senior Punter Alex Martinez out of Otay Ranch in San Diego, California absolutely dominated the field. He hit several punts well over 4.5 seconds with his best ball of 49 yards / 4.66 seconds. He also crushed a 50 and 51 yard punt. Note, these are ‘net punts’ where we subtract 15 yards from where the student lines up to punt the ball to account for the imaginary line of scrimmage / snap distance, which means a 50 yard punt is actually 65 yards in the air!

The 4 punters who forced a 6th Round ‘best ball’ with Alex to determine a winner were (in order of score):

  • Alex Martinex (2020 – California) winner
  • Eli Gehman (2020 – Texas)
  • Joshua Montanari (2020 – Ohio)
  • Wesley Goad (2020 – Oregon)
  • Chance Gagnon (2021 – Florida)

See how each participant placed on Day 2 – Punt Elimination results

alex martinez punter san diegoDay 2 Overall Punt Champion (Alex Martinez – 2020 California)

Field Goal Eliminations

The grand finale of our National Showcase rarely disappoints. This year’s double-elimination field goal battle was by far the best ever, not just with the energy but with extreme talent.

Starting at 35 yards the participants take kicks at each hash and then move back to 40 yards for the same before proceeding to 45 yards middle and continuing in 5 yard increments down the middle until one man is left standing. This year at the 55 yard kick there were still thirty-five kickers alive! At 60 yards there were still 23 participants remaining. –Simply Remarkable!

In the end 5 Hot Prospects outlasted the field of 60 to go into a sudden death last kick. After having already kicked 12 field goals and with tired legs at the end of a long 2 days of kicking, we moved the boys up to 57 yards. Jacob Willig (2020 – CO) and Chance Gagnon (2021 – FL) both made their kick so we went back to 58 yards where Jacob was just wide and Chance drilled it for the win. It was a very exciting field goal competition and I’m beyond proud of all the participants. Having 35 kickers at 55 yards and 23 students make it to 60 yards is an amazing feat. 

Here are the final 5 students left standing (all Hot Prospects) in the FG Elimination Competition (also pictured below):

See how each participant placed on Day 2 – Field Goal Elimination results

field goal kicking competitionDay 2 Field Goal Eliminations (last 5 standing – Jacob, Christian, Jared, Nick, Chance)

chance gagnon kicking showcaseDay 2 Overall Field Goal Champion (Chance Gagnon- 2021 Florida)

kicking showcase winners(Day 2) Overall Champions – Vito Calvaruso (KO), Chance Gagnon (FG), Alex Martinex (P)

New Hot Prospects

The following 6 students earned spots on the Kicking World Hot Prospect List based on their performances at the 2019 National Showcase:

Class of 2020 

Class of 2021

Congrats to these young men on earning spots on our List!


2019 National Showcase Compilation Video


2019 National Showcase LIVE Replay

Summary

Looking back on the weekend I’m extremely proud of all the participants – great talent and attitudes across the board. I’m continually impressed that our staff does it year after year – being able to properly evaluate and select each year’s National Showcase invitees. We made stops in 22 states this year in search of the country’s best and I’m convinced we nailed it. LOTS of hustle and passion from this year’s participants and I look forward to bright futures for these young men on & off the field.

kickingworld coaches2019 National Showcase Staff – Pictured L to R – Mike Cofer, Pat Davis, Oswaldo Luna, Julio Azua, Carson Mohr, Cayden Camper, Alan Guerrieri, Alex Walls, Brent Grablachoff

Recruiting

If you’re a college football coach I encourage you to review all of the Camp Results (events individually linked above) which shows how each camper placed and a summary of class year winners. I urge you to get our Hot Prospects on your radar and out for visits. These are hand-groomed specialists I believe will be successful in college and beyond. Our selection methodology has proven very accurate over the years with multiple students excelling when it counts (in-game) at the Collegiate and NFL level.

Parents, Students, and Coaches can check out our Recruiting page for tips & advice that will help get your name out there and allow you the opportunity to take advantage of the several exposure offerings Kicking World provides its students.

From the entire staff, we thank all who participated this year and we look forward to seeing YOU too at next year’s event!

2019 National Showcase Media

Compilation Video
LIVE Replay
Competition Results
Camp Photos


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