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Summer vacation will bring a trip far beyond the U.S. coast for two Central Hardin High School students.
Senior Brett Rafn and junior Cole Overman will travel to Australia and New Zealand this summer to take part in the 2014 Down Under Sports wrestling tournament. Rafn and Overman were invited to compete and are working to raise money to fund the trip.
The students learned about their invitation from a letter to their wrestling coach.
Overman said he found the invitation to be a great accomplishment.
“I was happy,” he said. “I was really excited.”
Rafn said the trip was never something he could have expected to take.
“For me to get an opportunity like that and represent my country, really was a milestone for me,” he said.
The trip will cost about $5,000 for each student, so the boys have begun planning a variety of ways to raise the money necessary, including hosting a holiday bazaar and requesting sponsorships from local businesses.
Despite the cost, both Rafn and Overman said their parents were eager to ensure they would go.
“My mom was super excited for me,” Overman said.
The students will leave in June and spend four days in both countries. Rafn is excited to see the Pacific Ocean and sample kangaroo burgers, while Overman is eager to take in New Zealand because it served as the location of the “Lord of the Rings” film trilogy.
“So if I get to see (where it was shot), that’ll be cool,” he said.
They will compete in three tournaments, each set up differently from the others. Rafn said the most difficult part of preparing for the tournament will be weight management to stay in their weight classes. It can be difficult not to gain weight while traveling, he said.
Only a few students attend from each state, so to have two from the same team make the cut is a compliment to the Central wrestling program, Overman said.
“It makes us look good as a team,” he said.
Rafn agreed, saying the school’s athletic programs are strong.
“I think Central Hardin has really stepped up its game to compete with the quality of other athletes,” he said.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at 270-505-1747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.