An area track athlete is raising money for a chance to compete in Australia this summer.
Most 14-year-olds make plans that involve barbecues and fireworks for the Fourth of July.
However, Marissa Anne Miller, of Logan, is planning to compete against 2,000 athletes from around the U.S. and the world.
Miller is one of hundreds of high school athletes who has been invited by the International Sports Specialists Inc., to compete in the Down Under Sports Tournament June 28- July 9.
“Having an opportunity to compete against new athletes is amazing,” Miller said. “That is the main reason I am working so hard to go to Australia.”
Even though Miller has the determination and an invitation to the event their is one hurdle she as yet to overcome, the cost of attending.
To attend the 12-day event, Miller must raise $4,600 to cover the cost of travel, food and board.
“I am holding some raffles and planing a Valentines Day dinner,” Miller said. “The sponsoring company has also sent me $2 raffle tickets for a 10-day trip with the athletes to Australia and Hawaii.”
The tickets are for a trip for two to accompany the athlete while they travel to Australia and Hawaii, said Brandon Forster, recruiter and coach, Down Under Sports.
“The raffle tickets can be purchased from Miller or they can be given to a person that chooses to sponsor her trip,” Forster said.
Miller was selected to compete the tournament because of her 2009 New Mexico 1A State finals results, Forster said.
“An athlete is selected for their state finals results or they are nominated by a coach or ISSI staff,” Forster said.
Miller placed seventh in the 100-meter dash, seventh in triple jump and ninth in the long jump, according to New Mexico Activities Association state finals results.
“Marissa had a hip injury and pushed through the pain during state finals,” said Sheila Miller, Logan track coach and Marissa’s mother.
Sheila said Marissa was in tears after competing in the long jump and scheduled to compete in the 100-meter dash finals minutes later.
“She is dedicated and would not let others see her cry,” Sheila said. “She wants to compete and continue to get better. Improvement drives her.”
Forster said Marissa will be training with Joe Arrezola, a track coach with over 20 years of experience.
“The chance to train with a coach so much experience is one of the reasons I want to go,” Marissa said. “I want to keep pushing myself to get better.”
Athletes compete in age groups: 14-to-15 years, 16-to-17 years, 18-to-19 years, and 20 years and over.
“There are athletes from all over the world that compete in this event,” Forster said.
Marissa said this venue gives her the best opportunity to improve her existing skills and learn new skills and techniques.
“The best part about this is I will be able to condition over the summer,” Marissa said. “This will greatly benefit me as I enter my sophomore year of sports.”
To contact Marissa for sponsorship or raffle ticket purchases you can call 575-403-6414.