Falcons' harriers to run down-under

Down Under Sports athletes from Thunder Mountain are, back left-to-right: James Steeves, Nick Bursell, Khalil English. Middle row l-r: Ashlynn Kay, Naomi Welling, Maddie Hall. At front is coach Scott May. The team leaves in July for competitions in Australia.

Six Track & Field athletes from Thunder Mountain High School have been selected to participate in an International competition in Australia this coming summer and Falcons’ coach Scott May has been selected to lead them.


The team will be compiled of some of the top high school athletes from both Alaska and Hawaii.

“I was honored to have been selected in 2009,” May said. “And I am thrilled to have the opportunity to return this year. It is a great program, and our athletes will have an experience of a lifetime. There is more to it than just a Track & Field Meet. They will make new friends and great memories that will last a life time.”

Thunder Mountain athletes on the team are junior Khalil English, senior Nick Bursell, senior James Steeves, sophomore Maddie Hall, freshman Naomi Welling and senior Ashlynn Kay.

English will participate in the 800 and 1500-meter runs, the 2000 Steeple Chase, and the 4x400.

Bursell will take on the High Jump, Discus, 110 Hurdles, 4x800 relay and 100-meter dash.

Steeves will be in the 1500, 400, and 800 meter runs, the 2000 Steeple Chase and 4x800.

Hall will run the 3000 and 1500 meter runs, and the 2000 Steeple Chase.

Welling will run the 800 meters, 300 hurdles, and 2000 Steeple Chase.

Kay will run the 300 hurdles, the 400, 800, and 200-meter runs, and 4x400.

The Thunder Mountain Boys are coming off a Track & Field Region Title last year, and the girls won the Cross Country Region Meet this year. As they prepare for the upcoming Track & Field season, these selected athletes will continue to train into July.

There are just seven athletes from Alaska who will be competing, and they will be joining approximately 300 other athletes participating in this international track and field event.

George O’Scanlon, who was in love with athletics and wanted to promote them in New Zealand and Australia, founded Down Under Sports in 1989.

According to a news release, the Down Under program is in place to “use the common language of sports to bridge the continents and provide a forum for athletes from around the globe to compete head to head in the sport they love.”

The three-day competition will be July 5th, 6th and 8th at Griffiths University, on Australia’s Gold Coast. The University is the site of Australia’s 2000 Olympics track & field training grounds. The Australian Olympic team often uses the Down Under Meet as a qualifier during Olympic years.

Athletes will depart Los Angeles on June 30th and arrive home on July 11th.

Athletes need to raise funds in order to make the trip. Each athlete is coming up with ways to raise funding for this once-in-a-lifetime event. Anyone interested in helping fund an athlete is encouraged to contact the individual athlete, or Coach May at 790-4544. Donations can also be made through the Down Under Sports web site. Sponsors who donate to any athlete can be entered into a drawing to win a trip for two to join them on their journey to Australia.


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