The track and field season has effectively become a launching point for sophomore Stephanie Witbrod. After an up and down freshman season, she’s making it a point to put in extra time this spring and for good reason.
Witbrod dabbles in several different events, both on the track and in the jumping pits. Every practice and meet is a new opportunity for her to make gradual improvements. But she’s competing this spring with a new goal in mind: to prepare for the land Down Under.
“I’ve been doing some extra running every day and a lot of this season is about getting ready for Australia,” Witbrod said.
The sophomore hurdler, long jumper and triple jumper was selected as a representative of Wyoming to compete at the 19th Annual Down Under Sports International Track and Field Games to be held in Queensland, Australia, July 6-15.
Down Under Sports hosts the annual Down Under Sports Tournaments each year which provide a forum for athletes from other countries to compete head-to-head in the sport they love. The tournaments include competition in football, basketball, volleyball, cross country, golf and track and field. Over the past 30 years, Down Under Sports has had the opportunity to share the land Down Under with tens of thousands of individuals from across the United States.
Witbrod is incredibly humbled by the opportunity to compete in the sport she loves and to be able to travel across the globe in the process.
“It means a lot,” she said. “It means that I am being scouted by people for a sport that I love and have tons of fun doing.”
Once in Australia after a full day of traveling, athletes will have the opportunity during their week and a half trip to sight-see, visit kangaroo fields, a wildlife sanctuary and even hold a koala. Witbrod is especially excited about the latter, along with experiencing Australian cuisine.
To get to the games, the Witbrod family must raise money to cover the round-trip costs and over the last few months she’s been reaching out to individuals in the community to help fund her trip of a lifetime.
“The process is going great,” Witbrod said.
When Witbrod isn’t out in the community working to raise funds for her trip Down Under, she’ll be out on the track putting in the extra work to get better and help the Bearcats. For her, it’s hard to believe the opportunity that awaits.
“It is a great privilege to be chosen for something this huge,” Witbrod said.
The Bearcats were originally scheduled to compete at the Okie Blanchard Invite last Friday at Cheyenne East High School but as the spring months typically do in Wyoming, they threw a wrench into the plans of many schools around the state. The meet was rescheduled to Monday, but with the Bearcats set to host the Douglas Twilight on Thursday, they chose instead to pull out from the meet and will focus on Thursday’s home meet.
The Jackalope City will welcome Buffalo, Rawlins, Torrington, Glenrock and Guernsey-Sunrise for the meet. The opening gun is set to go off at 3:30 p.m.
Heading into Thursday’s meet, the Bearcats have nine individual spots secured for next month’s state meet in Casper and have also qualified for two relays.
Sutton Perry is the lone individual on the boys side to have secured a spot after clearing 6 feet, 2 inches in the high jump at the Wheatland Invite on March 27. The boys 1600 medley relay team of Jayden Archuleta, Heath Hayes, Brady Brooks and Cameryn Spence have also notched their spot.
Kamdynn Townsend, Allyson Fertig, Riley Seeds and Ava Tompkins have each qualified for the girls. Townsend has secured a spot in the 200-meter, 400-meter, high jump and long jump. Tompkins qualified for the long jump at last week’s Douglas/Buffalo Dual. Allyson Fertig will head to state in the shot put and discus throw, while Seeds has guaranteed herself a spot in the shot put. The girls 4x800 relay team of Jenny Porter, Brynn Zwetzig, Lucie Holt and Allison Olsen will also head to Casper.