Salem’s Kyle Reighard has been working to get a leg up on his competition.
The Spartans junior placekicker has received an invitation to compete in the National Kicking Championship December 21 and 22 in Tampa, Florida. The camp is sponsored by the organization of Ray Guy, who is an NFL Hall of Fame punter, and has the annual award of the nation’s top college football punter named after him.
Reighard will participate in all three portions of the event, which includes six punts, six kickoffs, and 12 field goal attemps, six from each hash mark. The field goal attempts will range from 30 to 55 yards in length. The punting segment of the competition will be comprised of both distance and directional kicks, where participants will try to land footballs inside the 10 and 20 yard lines, respectively.
“It’s an honor…I’ve really been working hard during the offseason and ever since,” said Reighard. “On the weekends my dad and I go to the Salem fields and practice and it’s really paying off.”
This is not the first time Reighard will be displaying his ability in a competition, however. At the Ray Guy Kicking Camp in Columbus, Ohio earlier this year, Kyle won the punting part of the event with a 49 yard average, and 4.2 hangtime. He finished second overall in the kicking category, booting one from 50 yards off the ground, and ultimately finishing runner-up to a kicker who has committed to play for Ohio State University. Perhaps most amazing, Kyle has been kicking for only three years now, and volunteered for the duty simply because his school had no one else to do it.
“When I was at Lewis in eighth-grade, they needed a kicker,” Reighard said. “The only reason it was me was because I played soccer…I’ve just learned to get better at it ever since.”
The rankings only back up his improvement. According to Prokicker.com, Reighard is the second rated punter in the class of 2015, averaging 41 yards per kick. Additionally, he is the 10th ranked kicker/punter combo with his 53 yard kickoff average.
Kyle is the son of Scott and Jennifer Reighard. Scott, a English teacher in Roanoke County, has been working with him and looks forward to what lies ahead for his son.
“We are very proud of Kyle,” he said. “He is a hard worker, and he is looking to improve his technique during the offseason by getting stronger and fine-tuning his technique.”