Five athletes from Des Plaines: Bear Cortes, Katelyn Dahl, Gillian Herman, Allison Pearson, and Alisa Fallon, competed in the Punt, Pass and Kick Team Championships at the Walter Payton Center in Lake Forest on Saturday, November 16. Alisa Fallon took first place in the Girls' 14/15 age group with a combined score of 316' 7." Her individual scores were 107' 7' for her punt, 99' for her pass, and 110' for her kick. Fallon represented the Chicago Bears in the 2012 National Championships finishing in second place in the Girls' 12/13-age division, with a total score of 302 feet. Cortes took second place in the Boys' 6/7 age group with a score of 127' 7". Dahl (Girls' Ages 6/7, 28' 6"); Herman (Girls' Ages 8/9, 78'); and Pearson (Girls' Ages 14/15, 200' 7"), each took Fourth Place in their age divisions. "We are very proud of these five competitors," said Josh Cantres, Athletic Supervisor for the Des Plaines Park District.
The Punt, Pass & Kick event is a free skills competition offered by the National Football League, for boys and girls aged 6 to 15. Every year, more than 400,000 youngsters nationwide compete in the program! PP&K offers boys and girls the opportunity to compete individually against their peers in punting, passing and kicking from a tee contests. All participants begin competition at the school level or an officially sanctioned local community competition. The Des Plaines Park District hosted their first local competition on Sunday, September 22 at Prairie Lakes Park; over 90 boys and girls competed.
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The top finisher in each of the boys' and girls' divisions from the five age brackets (6/7, 8/9, 10/11, 12/13, and 14/15) of each Local Competition advanced to the Sectional Round. "This year we had a total of 112 local competitions in the Chicago Bear market, divided up among the 9 sectional locations," said Cantres.
At the Sectionals, each competitor began anew with a score of zero. Only the top four first-place finishers in each age bracket from the boys' and girls' divisions from the pool of Sectional Competition champions advanced to the Team Championship. At the Team Championships, each of the 40 competitors began with a score of zero. The top finisher within each age bracket at this level is declared that NFL team's NFL PUNT, PASS & KICK Team Champion.
Only the four first-place Team Champions from each of the boys' and girls' divisions of all NFL Team Champions are eligible for advancement to the National Finals. Their scores must be in the top four nationally in their respective age groups to qualify. "We are hoping Alisa's score will carry her to the Nationals again this year," said Cantres. "This is only the third Team Competition of the 32 scheduled, and Fallon's score is 40 points ahead of her closest competitor." The first place winners were invited to the Sunday Bears vs. Ravens game at Soldiers Field, where their names were announced.
For more information about Athletic programs at the Des Plaines Park District call 847-391-5700. In the spring of 2014, the Des Plaines Park District will host the Hershey's Track & Field Games, a free event for boys and girls ages 9-14. Complete information will be available in the Spring Spectrum and online at www.DPParks.org.