6-year-old from Seattle makes winning bracket picks in ESPN.com contest
Beckett Howard-Kuzma, a 6-year-old kindergartner, has a bracket that is tied for sixth place among more than eight million entries worldwide.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Beckett Howard-Kuzma is like any other sports fanatic.
After a long day he likes to check the scores on his tablet, then watch a few games before bed. When March rolled around, he filled out an NCAA men's basketball bracket on ESPN.com like millions of other people.
Nothing unusual — except Beckett is a 6-year-old kindergartner and his bracket is tied for sixth place among more than 8 million entries worldwide. Beckett had faith in Oregon defeating Oklahoma State in the opening round but not the Cinderella ride of Florida Gulf Coast. Yet, the Seattle native did spurn top-seeded Gonzaga to advance Wichita State to the Final Four.
"I liked the name," Beckett said of the Shockers via phone from his West Seattle home.
He was more interested in checking his scores and watching baseball than being interviewed, so his mother, Kelly Howard, and father, Jason Kuzma, had to fill in the details.
Beckett sat at the computer to make selections with his parents. They tried to influence some of the picks, like nudging him toward their alma mater, Michigan, for the title.
No, Beckett had his own system. And so far he's right, advancing top-seed Louisville to the Final Four with No. 4 seeds Syracuse and Michigan and ninth-seeded Wichita State.
There's one person with the same predictions who's 10 points ahead of Beckett. If Louisville beats Syracuse for the NCAA title, the best Beckett could finish is second place. But there isn't a prize for the finish. Instead the top 1 percent of the entries, about 80,000, are placed in a pool to win the overall grand prize — a $10,000 gift card to Best Buy.
Although it's Beckett's first entry, his interest isn't a surprise to the family.
"He's such a sports nut, he even watches lacrosse," grandfather Paul Simmons said.
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @JaydaEvans
Information in this article, originally published April 5, 2013, was corrected April 9, 2013. A previous version of this story reported that 8,000 entrants were placed into a pool and eligible for the grand prize. That number is actually 80,000.