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Norwin student finishes in first-place at NFL competition

| Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

A Norwin student received a top honor with a nationwide NFL sponsored program. But win or lose, a more important message needs to be delivered to everyone she comes in contact with.

Claudia Komondor, who currently is a freshman at Norwin, was able to finish in first-place in the girls 14- to 15-year old division for the team championships for the NFL Punt, Pass and Kick competition that occurred in early December.

Komondor, who had to make it through two previous rounds before making it to the team championship, finished with a 91'3” distance for her punt, 50'3” for her pass and 83'10” for her kick.

“I would probably say the kickoff because I don't have to physically hold the ball,” Komondor said. “I just have to get a head start and kick it. I would also say the kickoff is my strongest and best one out of the three.”

Komondor's total distance of 225'3” placed her 22nd out of 32 teams for all the winners in her age divisions for all 32 teams in the NFL. The top four competitors in each age bracket moved on to the National Championships, which took place during the Atlanta Falcons/Seattle Seahawks playoff game in Atlanta, Ga on January 13.

The team championships occurred during the morning of December 9 at the Pittsburgh Steelers Indoor Practice Facility at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex on the South Side.

After the Punt, Pass and Kick competition, Komondor and the rest of the competitors were invited the 1 p.m. Steelers home game at Heinz Field against the San Diego Chargers, where they were able to recognized during halftime for their participation in the event.

“It's a lot different than being on a sideline at varsity game,” Komondor said. “You have more lot fans looking at what you are doing. It's a lot more intimidating than a varsity football game.”

Komondor, who is a cheerleader for Norwin's freshman team, has been one busy and well-traveled person of late. Over the summer, Komondor traveled to Irving, Texas, to attend the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Camp, where she received an award for having the Best Technique. Also, Komondor attended the Slippery Rock University Cheer Camp, where she was named to the camp's All-American team.

This busy calendar is important for the well-being of Komondor, who suffers Cleidocranial Dysostosis, a genetic disorder of bone development characterized by abscent or incompletley formed collar bones. Although it may be considered minor, Komondor, who could remember experiencing pain in her hips since she was six-years old, could be doing her body a favor always making sure she is busy and living an active lifestyle.

“I don't normally think about it now. I just keep letting myself know that I'm lucky to have it a minor case. Some children who have it don't have the ability to walk,” Komondor said. “I keep telling myself you can walk and you have a healthy life except for the pain. I keep making sure I get myself down about it. I keep thinking “YOLO” (You Only Live Once).”

Komondor, who is aspiring to become a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader one day, is also starting to get involved in pageants to make sure you has a platform to spread her message that most likely has saved her life -- staying active physically and mentality.

Since this was her last year of eligibility, Komondor will return to the NFL Punt, Pass and Kick program as a volunteer. With the help of the Jeff Campbell, the State Chairman of the Punt, Pass and Kick program, Komondor will try to encourage those who participate in the program with the message you can do anything you put your mind to it.

Andrew John is a freelance writer.

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