Athletes were selected to attend based on their results from the State Secondary Schools Cross Country Championships with 21 athletes in attendance from across Victoria and New South Wales.
The tour consisted of 3 Cross Country races, each 3 miles (5 km) long.
The Falcon Invitational Cross Country Competition, held at Foothills High School (Henderson), was the athletes’ first competition.
Annabelle was named to the Girls Varsity team of 8 female athletes from the team. This was a great achievement because Annabelle had never competed before in a 5km competition.
Annabelle competed hard and came in 30th place out of 120 competitors and in fifth place for her team. Her time was an impressive 21:48. Overall, the Girls Varsity team placed third in the competition out of 20 competing teams.
The Boys Varsity team also competed well and placed second.
The second race, the Clark County School District’s midweek cross country race at Palo Verde High School (Las Vegas), was run under difficult conditions. It was held at 3:30pm (after school) and the temperature was 102°F (which is approximately 39°C).
Annabelle placed sixth out of 35 competitors with a time of 24:29.
The final race, the College of Southern Nevada Invitational at Floyd Lamb Park (Las Vegas), was a treat as the Aussies won the trophy in the high school girls’ and boys’ team events.
Annabelle ran very well and came in 12th place (there were over 100 competitors) in a time of 22:00.
The main component of the tour was the training and guidance provided. The athletes were fortunate to have the expertise of Coaches/Directors Nev Down (Level 4 Coach with over 30 years of coaching experience), Karen Morham (Level 3 Advanced Athletics Coach with over 30 years of fitness and coaching experience) and Michelle. Hawks (Level II coach) as well as Josh Hawks (track and field and cross country athlete).
This included the Cross Country team relay in Williams, a town located at 2,100 meters above sea level, so it was difficult for the athletes.
Other highlights included sightseeing around the Santa Monica Pier, Hollywood Boulevard, Las Vegas, Williamsburg, Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Cirque du Soleil – Mystères, shopping outlets including all major sports brands as well as visiting Disneyland and California Park Adventures and Universal Studios. .
Sports Travel Australia director Karen Morham said the experience exposed Annabelle to a new level of independence.
“Annabelle has had the fantastic opportunity to meet and compete against other Australian and international athletes,” Ms Morham said.
“The educational value of visiting interesting places and being part of a different culture was and continues to be invaluable.
“Annabelle, along with 20 other Australian athletes, competed extremely well in very different and challenging conditions here in Australia.
“Never before have the boys and girls teams taken home the cup and achieved so high competitive standards in these competitions.
“On behalf of Sports Travel Australia, I am so proud of the athletes, coaches and parents who made up our team and hope they look back fondly on the memories forever.”
Annabelle Hart would like to thank Sports Travel Australia for the opportunity to compete internationally.
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