Trio gears for Australia


by: Submitted Photo - MHS track and field athletes Freddy Hernandez, left, Jacoba Smith and Mark Wunsch.

   Ezra-Mel Pasikatan
   Student Reporter
   Three Madras High School athletes will be competing in the Down Under Sports Tours in Queensland, Australia, July 15 to 25.
   The athletes, juniors Mark Wunsch and Jacoba Smith and sophomore Freddy Hernandez were chosen to compete based on their athletic performance and character, the latter of which was gauged through recommendations from their coaches.
   Wunsch and Smith will be competing in track and field events, in javelin and high jump, respectively.
   Track and field competitors will be competing in one two-day international meet.
   Wunsch's personal record in javelin is 165 feet.
   Smith has jumped 5 feet, 3 inches in her event.
   Hernandez will compete in the 3.2 mile cross country event.
   Cross country runners will compete in one international meet and in one All American meet.
   Hernandez's personal best in his event is 17 minutes, 48 seconds.
   The company which run Down Under Sports Tours, International Sports Specialists Inc., was created in 1989 by New Zealander George O'Scalon, "to continually provide athletes who excel in their sport the opportunity to experience the culture, beauty and grandeur of the land down under through spirited and intense competition in a variety of sports."
   Competition will be against other U.S. athletes, as well as athletes from Australia and New Zealand.
   The athletes have been training individually and with school coaches in preparation for the events.
   The trio has been organizing fund-raisers including Indian taco feeds, a basketball game between high school staff and students, raffle tickets for two-expense paid trips to attend the Down Under Sports Tours as a spectator and raffles for an autographed Blazer basketball and custom made log furniture made by Smith's father.
   Each athlete needs to raise $4,000 in order to attend the games and is still seeking sponsors.
   Those who would like to donate can contribute to an account set up at the Madras branch of Columbia River Bank. Make checks payable to the "Down Under Athletes."
   For more information, contact Cindy Wunsch at 475-7858.