As an all-purpose frosh-soph runner for the East Union High School track team, Eric Morales is used to traveling to run races.
But he has never needed a passport to do so.
Morales, who wowed longtime East Union coach Rick Cuevas with a 0:53-second 400-meter time at the Valley Oak League championships last season, has the opportunity to join 300 athletes from across the globe in Australia for a three-day, International meet meant to bridge the gap between the continents through the universality of sport.
There’s only one catch – he needs to raise the money to get there.
While the meet is organized to the point that equipment is provided to participants, minus pole vault poles, the transportation costs and lodging are the responsibility of Morales’ family, and not very many people have $4,600 just lying around for a track meet.
“I think that it’s an honor to be one of the people asked to go down there and compete,” Morales said. “I think that I would learn a lot and be able to improve as a runner.
“I love sports and I love competing, so this is perfect for me.”
The family has set-up a GoFundMe page to help Eric come up with the money necessary before the deadline, which is fast approaching, in advance of the competition – which takes place from July 7 through July 16 at the Gold Coast campus of Griffith University in Queensland.
According to Cuevas, Morales shows great promise as a runner, and he was impressed with the 0:54.1 that he posted this past Saturday in the school’s first invitation of the 2018 season at Edison High School.
Seeing him as a solid middle-distance runner, Cuevas believes that he can train Morales to be solid at the 800-meter distance.
Participants in the Down Under Sports Invitational not only get multiple days of competition during their stay, but get to travel around one of the wildest continents on the globe and take in the breathtaking scenery on the once-in-a-lifetime trip.
Morales said that he’s currently in the process of securing his passport so he can leave the country for the first time, and couldn’t be more excited about the prospect.
“It’s a chance that I’ll probably never get again,” he said. “It’s definitely something that I want to do.”
Those interested in sponsoring Eric can do so by visiting www.gofundme.com/down-under-sports-tournament-aust. There they will find the official sponsorship letter from Down Under Sports detailing the event. People can also make donations by visiting www.downundersports.com/payment/454B-D6CA-FE45 — the official payment site of the organization.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.