On Top Of Their Game Down Under
Two North Park athletes are on top of their game after returning from the land “Down Under.” North Park Wildcat student athletes, Nic Martin and Kayla Jenkins recently participated in the Down Under Sports program as ambassadors for our community and state.
Nic and Kayla both spent 9 days on the Gold Coast of Australia, participating in an international athletic event in basketball and track and field respectively during the month of July. Following their Australian experience, both Nic and Kayla returned home through Hawaii for a 3 day R&R program. Sponsors and hard work fundraising helped cover their costs of competing in the down under tournament. North Park has sent athletes to this program before over the last decade and were proudly represented by two of the best that tri-sport athletes in our athletic program.
Around 300 athletes participated in the track and field tournament Kayla, daughter of Allen and Jeannie Jenkins, and each student was placed on a team of 20. Kayla participated in the triple and long jump. Kayla also had the opportunity to go to a kangaroo sanctuary where she could pet them as well as koala bears. “The trip was about the experience for me and I met lots of friends that I still keep in contact with them. It was a trip of a lifetime.” The learning opportunity from the coach instruction was immense and well worth the experience.
Nic, son of Trent and Samantha Martin, went a couple weeks following Kayla’s trip and came home feeling proud and accomplished as well. After arriving in Brisbane and visiting the city a little, they ended the day with practice. Nic represented his community and country in the basketball portion of the Down Under Sports program and had approximately 40 teams from multiple countries participate in his experience. Nic’s team won their pool of the tournament and placed 3rd in the entire tournament. After his basketball experience Nic went deep sea fishing and caught red snapper. Upon the return trip, via Hawaii they didn’t play basketball, but spent time learning to dribble the waves on a surf board. He also snorkeled and toured Pearl Harbor. “My favorite experience from the whole trip was playing basketball on such an elite level.” Players were encouraged to dunk and play their best; we know Nic rose to the occasion. “The experience will make me a better team player and leader on and off the court.”
Learning to navigate other countries, airports and unfamiliar territory was a great life lesson experience for both Kayla and Nic. They want to thank the many people that supported their trip through donations and fundraising.