Thatcher, Stenson win age group at PPK sectional

MISSOULA — Talen Thatcher and Mya Stenson of Butte won the their age groups in the Western Montana Sectional of the NFL Punt, Pass & Kick competition, which was held on Oct. 5.

Thatcher won the boys’ 6-7 age group, totaling 127 feet, 8 inches to pick up the victory. Stenson took home the girls 10-11 age group, posting an impressive mark of 216 feet, 10 inches.

First-place finishers are now eligible to compete in the Seattle Seahawks regional competition, but must await the results of all other sectionals, approximately twelve, conducted this month throughout the Pacific Northwest.  Only the top four sectional winners advance to the Seattle event, which is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 28, prior to the Seahawks game on Sunday, Nov. 29 vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Other Butte other Butte athletes fared well at the event. Kamber Leary took second in the girls’ 8-9 age group. Kaden Fultz placed fourth in the 11-12 boys’ devision, while Brooke Johnson took fifth in the girls’ 6-7. Kooper Klobucar, competing on his 12th birthday, placed sixth in the 12-13 age group.

Tatum McNamara, who is from Montana City but qualified in the Butte event, took third in the girls’ 12-13 age group.

Anaconda’s Cael Mikalatos (boys’ 8-9) and Braedon Sawyer (boys’ 12-13) each placed second in their age groups.

Also, Anaconda’s Eli Salteberger, 11, Sierra Krantz, 13, took fifth in their age groups.

In all, 84 boys and girls ages 6-15 participated at the competition.  Elizabeth Bluemel, 13, of Ronan set an age group record in the punting event, with her mark of 116 feet, 4 inches, besting the previous state mark by more than twelve feet.

A special presentation was held to honor the 2014 national PPK champion, then-7-year-old Easton Reimers from Missoula, and third-place national finisher then-14-year-old Calla Haldorson from Hamilton.

Haldorson kept up her winning ways by earning top honors in the 14-15 age group. The event was hosted for the 11th year by the Kiwanis Club of Missoula, with assistance from area high school Key Clubs and UM’s Circle K Club.  Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Missoula provided both free Gatorade T-shirts and beverages to all competitors.

Western Montana has traditionally qualified many of its age group champions for the Seattle event, with six out of ten age group winners advancing in 2014.  Also, at least one of the Montana sectional winners has gone on to claim the Seattle Seahawks Team Championship for an age group each year since the current program was re-established in 1995.

Western Montana garnered three individual championships in Seattle in 2014, with the aforementioned Easton Reimers and Calla Haldorson eventually advancing to the 2014 National PPK Championship event.

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  • Don Davis
    October 12, 2015, 10:36 pm

    Bill, thanks for posting this and the pics from the local event. I’m glad you can’t keep all the names straight. I think both Butte kids have a great shot at Seattle and I’ll keep you updated. Thanks again, Don Davis


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