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Kortan heads to Punt, Pass & Kick national finals

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sports Mitchell, 57301

Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

TABOR — Thirteen-year old Tabor native Bailey Kortan will represent the Minnesota Vikings in the National Football League’s Punt, Pass & Kick National Finals Saturday in Denver.

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Kortan, an eighth-grader at Bon Homme, is one of 40 athletes from across the country to compete in the event. She will compete in the girls’ 12-13 division and three opponents are Madison Bradley, of New Jersey, Sophia Saucerman, of Indiana, and Destinee Dugas, of Louisiana.

“I think I have a pretty good shot if I can get my kick and punt down,” Kortan said. “I just have to make sure I get everything straight on the line and not try to overdo it.”

Kortan participated in the national finals two years ago in Baltimore. She came in second place, coming up short by 4 feet.

Bailey qualified for the national finals during a sectional competition on Dec. 15 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. Each NFL team holds its own competition. In order to advance to the national finals, a participant must be among the top four in the country in his or her age division.

To win the competition, all participants must launch two punts, two passes and two kicks. The scores are based on distance and accuracy. The best score from each activity is calculated to determine the final score.

Winners of the competition will be honored in an on-field award presentation. The presentation will take place after the third quarter of the Denver Broncos vs. San Diego Chargers AFC Divisional Playoff game Sunday. The game begins at 3:40 p.m. Central time Sunday.

“It is pretty exciting to go on the field and see how the players warm up,” said Kortan, who has been participating in Punt, Pass & Kick since she was 8. “We get to see a player on Saturday night, so I am hoping it is going to be Peyton Manning.”

Kortan leaves for Denver today and competes on Saturday morning. Kortan’s younger sister, Jaden, and older brother, Chase, also compete in Punt, Pass & Kick.

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