Butte’s Team Uptop keeping kids on the hardwood
A lot of kids today are finding that in order to compete at the varsity level in high school, they're going to have to do a lot more than show up for tryouts. Kids today a lot of times are choosing to focus on one sport and they train and compete year-round. Basketball, in particular, has become the focus of many of these kids and travelling teams have been competing in tournaments all across the state at any time of the year for decades now. As you would expect, these travelling teams have provided the fodder for which many varsity programs are built. As you can also guess, travelling in 2023 is expensive. And Montana is huge.
Travelling teams are not free. In fact, the parents of any kid will tell you that involvement is quite expensive. But the Anderson family and Uptop Clothing believe that sports are inclusive and that everyone should be given a chance to play and compete regardless of status. Three years ago, Team Uptop was created to give every kid in Butte the chance to play travel basketball. While not completely free of expenses, Team Uptop does offer scholarships and do all that they can to get expenses covered. When their program was started it was only 15 eight grade boys. Today, Team Uptop has grown tenfold and consists of boys and girls in fourth through eighth grades and gets plenty of instruction and guidance from Butte High Bulldogs Boys Head Coach Matt Luedtke and Girls Coach Bryan Arntson. Universal Athletics is also a big sponsor and has helped make Team Uptop the lowest cost travel basketball organization in the state. Coaches in the program are alumni of some of the top programs in the state as well, and include Levi Simon, Brian Smythe, George Riojas, Isaac Sholey, Jacob Parish, Manny Rodriguez, Cael Stenson, Marty Hanley and Dan Boyle.
Team Uptop recently took the floor at halftime of a Butte High boys game and thanked everyone who has contributed to their success.