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Three Grant County student athletes take on global competition down under

Three local athletes journey to Australia for track and field championships.
Angel Carpenter

Blue Mountain Eagle

Published on September 12, 2017 5:52PM

Down Under Sports athletes, from left, Kaylee Wright, Kristina Humphreys and Jozie Rude stand together as they prepare to travel to Australia to the track and field competition.

Contributed photo

Down Under Sports athletes, from left, Kaylee Wright, Kristina Humphreys and Jozie Rude stand together as they prepare to travel to Australia to the track and field competition.

Jozie Rude competes in javelin at the July 7-9 Down Under Sports Track and Field Championships in Queensland, Australia.

Contributed photo/Down Under Sports

Jozie Rude competes in javelin at the July 7-9 Down Under Sports Track and Field Championships in Queensland, Australia.

Jozie Rude competes in javelin at the July 7-9 Down Under Sports Track and Field Championships in Queensland, Australia.

Contributed photo/Down Under Sports

Jozie Rude competes in javelin at the July 7-9 Down Under Sports Track and Field Championships in Queensland, Australia.

Jozie Rude competes in discus at the July 7-9 Down Under Sports Track and Field Championships in Queensland, Australia.

Contributed photo/Down Under Sports, Shaun Goudy

Jozie Rude competes in discus at the July 7-9 Down Under Sports Track and Field Championships in Queensland, Australia.

Jozie Rude competes in shot put at the July 7-9 Down Under Sports Track and Field Championships in Queensland, Australia.

Contributed photo/Down Under Sports, Shaun Goudy

Jozie Rude competes in shot put at the July 7-9 Down Under Sports Track and Field Championships in Queensland, Australia.


Three Grant County athletes trotted the globe this summer, over 7,000 miles, for the competition of a lifetime at the Down Under Sports Track and Field Championships.

Grant Union junior Kaylee Wright and senior Jozie Rude and Dayville sophomore Kristina Humphreys journeyed to Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, July 7-9, competing for Team USA against athletes from Australia and New Zealand.

The trio came home with an abundance of memories, and ideas for approaching their sports at home.

When they weren’t competing with hundreds of other student athletes, the girls enjoyed leisure time and making new friends.

Swimming in the ocean after practice was one of Rude’s favorite activities on the trip.

“The ocean is a lot warmer than it is on the U.S. coast,” she said. “It was winter over there, and we were able to go into the ocean.”

Wright said she also enjoyed time at the beach, adding it rained the first day, then was a comfortable 90-95 degrees after that.

The Australians were competitive at the meet, she said.

“They were getting ready to go to the Bahamas for an even bigger track meet, so this was a practice meet for them,” she said.

On the first day of competition for the 4x100, Wright learned who her teammates were that morning, and they earned second place after only a couple handoffs in practice.

Wright said there were about 600 Australians and New Zealanders and about 400 Americans from all the states.

She also competed in the 100-meter dash and finished fifth in the women’s 16-17 division (500g) javelin throw with a mark of 38.83 meters (127-40 feet).

Rude participated in shot put, javelin and discus.

She finished fifth in the women’s 18-19 division (600 g) javelin throw with a mark of 30.81 meters (101-08 feet).

She said her coaches shared helpful tips.

“Coach Griswold taught me to rotate more on my right foot when I plant (for discus and shot put),” she said. “And ‘Coach D’ taught me that I need to be throwing at a 45-degree angle (for discus and shot put).”

She said the other teams had an advantage because they use lighter implements at a younger age, gradually working their way up in weight, in all the throwing events.

Jumping in with a new team, she said, was a valuable experience.

“When I go off to college, it will help,” she said.

Humphreys, who competed in javelin, said she enjoyed getting out and meeting new people in the sport.

In leisure time, some of her favorite activities included visiting a wild kangaroo field and then a zoo, where she petted tame kangaroos and saw emus, wombats and koalas.

Wright said it was fun to shop and eat at different restaurants, but more importantly, she said, she learned to keep an open mind to what others have to say.

She said the Australians she met have year-round track and focus on healthy nutrition. Many are also working toward competing at college and training for the Olympics.

“I learned a lot from the Australian girls,” Wright said. “Their level compared to our level is so much more in-depth.”

She added, “All my friends taught me so much about how they do track, and it’s probably something I won’t forget.”

All three girls added an optional stop in Hawaii to their 12-day trip, where they enjoyed snorkeling and more time with new friends.

Each of the girls held fundraisers for several months leading up to the trip, including a firewood raffle, golf scramble, spaghetti feed and cookie dough sales, as well as working at other jobs.

They all said the trip was well worth the effort.

“I’m really glad that I decided to stick with it, because I wouldn’t be where I am without that experience,” Wright said. “All the friends I made there and everything, it was definitely worth all my hard work to get there.”









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