Kennedy Seholm has the chance to go to this season's Super Bowl in New York, but she has to prove she is one of the best in the Punt, Pass & Kick competition first.
Seholm, who is 8 years old and in third grade at Cordata Elementary, will compete in the Seattle Seahawks Championship in the 8- to 9-year-old girls' division on Sunday, Dec. 1, at the Seahawks' training facility.
Seholm advanced to the Seattle Seahawks Championship after winning the sectional competition on Oct. 20, in Seattle. She faced seven other girls in her age division at the sectional and had the longest combined punt, pass and kick distance. But even after winning the sectional, Seholm wasn't guaranteed a spot at the Seattle Seahawks Championship.
"We had to wait because only the top four from all the sectionals combined go to the team championship," Kennedy's dad, Erik Seholm, said in a phone interview. "She ended up being the top person from all the sectionals. She'll be going against three other girls from the sectionals in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska."
After the team championship at the Seahawks' training facility, the competitors get to display their skills in front of a sold-out CenturyLink Field crowd. During halftime of the Seattle Seahawks-New Orleans Saints game on Monday, Dec. 2, the participants will showcase their skills for the crowd, regardless of whether they won or lost Sunday's competition.
Kennedy Seholm also won the local competition in Bellingham to advance to sectionals. Erik Seholm said she practices a few times a week and has been improving.
"She wants to practice a day or two each week, even in the cold weather," he said. "Her top distance in practice is about 180 feet, which would put her at third or fourth in nationals last year."
If Kennedy Seholm has the longest punt, pass and kick in her division at the Seahawks Championship, she could advance to the national finals during the NFL playoffs. But she would have to wait again until the other teams held their team championships to see if she is in the top four of the 8- to 9-year-old division nationally.
"Based on the teams that have posted their results (her practice record of 180 feet) would put her at first," Erik Seholm said. "I think the capability is there, but it isn't a foregone conclusion."
After the championship during the playoffs, the top two from each division get to go to the Super Bowl in New York.
Football isn't Kennedy Seholm's favorite sport, though. She prefers soccer, and plays goalie for her Under-9 team. Erik Seholm said the kicking skills from playing goalie have helped her in the punt, pass and kick competition.
"She can kick it from the goal all the way to midfield on the shorter fields," he said. "(At Punt, Pass & Kick) I just tell her, 'Pretend you're playing goalie.'"
But Kennedy has another method that helps her in Punt, Pass & Kick.
"When I kick the ball in soccer I just run up and kick it. In football I take my time and line it up," she said in a phone interview.
Being at CenturyLink Field on Monday for Punt, Pass & Kick will be Kennedy's and Erik's first Seahawks game at the stadium. Kennedy is looking forward to seeing her favorite player, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson.
She also wants to win the team competition because it falls on a very special day - her grandfather's birthday.
"If she wins it would be a really great birthday gift for him," Erik Seholm said.