Enumclaw High coach Jenelle Stussy and three of her track and field athletes will soon be winging their way to Australia to compete in the Down Under International Games.
Leaving Seattle June 26, Stussy will accompany current EHS juniors Abe Kellogg, Brandon Russell and Amanda Gray. The Hornet trio are part of the state of Washington delegation, coached by Stussy, that includes seven other athletes from both sides of the Cascade Mountains.
Stussy first contacted Down Under Sports more than a year ago and learned in August that she would be in charge of the Evergreen State’s delegation. She spread the word among her own team and coaches from around the state made information available to their own athletes.
Plenty of advance planning is necessary, as many athletes count on fundraising activities to pay the $4,500 Down Under tab. The organization helps students with fundraising tips.
The Down Under program promotes athletic competition but doesn’t ignore the opportunity for a bit of fun as students broaden their horizons. Stussy and her group will first fly to Hawaii, where they will train for three days, then head to Australia for the July 3-5 Down Under Games at Griffith University’s Gold Coast campus. In Hawaii, athletes will be treated to a traditional luau and have sightseeing opportunities. Once in Australia, the group will be provide an escort and activities include a trip to the Great Barrier Reef, a visit at a wildlife sanctuary and parasailing.
The tourist experience will fit around daily training sessions.
Stussy said each athlete can enter up to five individual events, plus relays. There’s also an open division for those 19 and older, causing Stussy – who walked on to the track program at Washington State University and still feels the competitive fires burn – to consider joining the competition.
The local delegation will return home July 6.
Kevin Hanson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-802-8206.