Canada is calling for two talented teenagers

READY TO FIRE: Secondary college students Collin Mayes and Mackenzie Cooper. Picture: LIZ FLEMING
READY TO FIRE: Secondary college students Collin Mayes and Mackenzie Cooper. Picture: LIZ FLEMING

TALENTED track and field teenagers Collin Mayes and Mackenzie Cooper are bound for Canada on the sporting trip of a lifetime.

The pair leave Australia on Wednesday with a large group of secondary school-aged athletes who will take part in two major competitions during their three-week North American tour.

They will be in action from June 27-29 at the Jack Brow Memorial Meet in Kelowna, in British Columbia, then head to Vancouver for the Trevor Craven Memorial Meet on July 5-6.

Fifteen-year-old Mayes, a veteran of Bendigo little athletics, will contest the long jump, triple jump and javelin.

Campbells Creek throws specialist Cooper, 14, has entered the shot put, discus, hammer and javelin. He has been involved in the sport for less than 12 months.

Both boys stand more than 183cm tall, but will compete in the ironically named "midget" division because of their age.

The pair were invited to join the group of 82 athletes and accompanying parents after achieving strong results in regional and state school athletics events last year.

While not an official Australian athletics team, the young stars will compete under the Sports Travel Australia banner and wear uniforms featuring the Southern Cross.

STA is a private company offering junior sportsmen and women the chance to travel abroad and experience international competition.

It has conducted track and field tours to Canada since 1990, inviting athletes who achieve set standards at major championships.

The annual Jack Brow meet is the main drawcard for the Australian contingent, as it attracts about 1000 high-standard competitors.

Mayes trains under Bendigo coach Brett Gilligan and takes javelin advice from throwing adviser Leanne Hume, who is also helping develop Cooper's technique.  

Several other central Victorian athletes are involved in the 2014 trip, including Morgan Dingwell from Rochester, Lewis Cain from Carisbrook, Georgia Bear from Loddon Vale and Thomas Smith from Echuca.

The group returns on July 14 after spending time sightseeing around Los Angeles, with visits to Disneyland, Universal Studios and San Diego Zoo.


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