McALESTER — Savanna junior Chase Woods said people used to tell him his speed would take him places, but he’d hoped that would mean to college, or maybe to some other states.
His speed might yet send him college, but first it could send Woods to Australia. Woods was recently awarded a First Team selection to the 2014 Oklahoma State Track and Field Team, which will compete at the 2014 Down Under Sports Track & Field Meet in Brisbane, Australia, in July.
Woods said he’d found out about this opportunity when Down Under Sports sent a letter to Savanna High School. Corey Vaughan also qualified for the team in the shot put, but whether or not both Bulldogs will go remains unknown.
“It kind of just completely caught me off guard,” Woods said Saturday.
Brisbane is a city of approximately 2.2 million on the eastern coast of Australia. Woods said he doesn’t know much about Australia besides the kangaroos and the Aboriginal Australian tribes there, but he’s excited for his first opportunity to travel outside the U.S.
“I’ve been kind of wanting to leave the country and just see other places,” Woods said. “I kind of want to explore the world, but ... not many opportunities like this come around.”
One of approximately 300 U.S. athletes selected to Down Under Sports’ seven international competitions, Woods said he expects to compete in the 100 meter and 200 meter runs, plus possibly the 4x100 or 4x800 relays. He’s been running track — primarily in short-yardage events — since his eighth-grade year at Frink-Chambers, qualifying for the 2013 2A State Track & Field Championship and placing 10th in the 100 in May.
The meet starts July 6. Down Under Sports likely notifies its athletes so far in advance because it costs $4,400 to participate, including a $300 non-refundable deposit.