The Times West Virginian


April 8, 2014

Down Under elimination dinner to be held Saturday

FAIRMONT — You can find kangaroos, dingos and huskies in Australia and New Zealand. Yes, you read that right: Huskies, North Marion Huskies.

Four North Marion athletes — Madison Haught, Austin Stanley, and Ryan and Tyler Arnett — will be traveling to the land down under to take part in competitions for Down Under Sports. Haught will be competing in track and field, while the trio of boys will take part in the wrestling competition.

To help get there, the athletes will host an elimination dinner where the proceeds will go toward paying for their trip.

Haught has already had her dinner and raised more than her goal, while the wrestlers will have theirs this Saturday at the Elks in Mannington at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 and some will be available at the door for purchase.

To be able to go on the excursion with not only teammates but also family, Tyler Arnett said, is a once in a lifetime thing. Tyler will travel with his brother Ryan and cousin, Austin Stanley.

“It’s nice because I have some people going over there with me,” he said.

For the trio, once they were sent letters about attending, the decision was a no-brainer.

“There have been other wrestlers who were asked to go and went,” he said. “It was kind of an automatic, something we really wanted to do.”

The wrestlers still have about $2,500 left to raise before their trip is paid for and hope for a big turnout for their dinner Saturday.

“We’d like as many people as possible,” Tyler said, “to show that we have support for our youth and the sport that they choose to participate in.”

For Haught, who will likely compete in the 100 high hurdles, shuttle hurdles, 4X400 and other relays, getting the chance to experience another culture while compete drew her to the offer.

“I think it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance. It’s just awesome,” she said. “I definitely want to see competition from all over the nation and all over the world, and get the experience of Australian culture and get out of the country.”

Tyler echoed her sentiment and said that while competition will be stiff, he and the other wrestlers look forward to it.

“The competition is pretty serious over there,” he said. “We have to learn a whole new style because wrestling over there is different.

“I think it’ll be a great experience to see how good people are from other states, and also Australia and New Zealand.”

When they all received their packets about the trip, Haught said that a friend, and cousin of the three wrestlers, pushed her to take the opportunity.

“She told me to take the chance,” she said. “To just go for it.”

All four athletes complied and now have their chance to show the rest of the world what kind of skills are housed in Marion County.

The trip won’t be all business, though, as they’re able to unwind with a trip to Hawaii after their competitions, where they’ll be busy with fun activities as part of the deal.

“The last couple days when we go to Hawaii, that’s straight relaxation,” Tyler sad. “That’ll feel pretty good to just relax.”

The competitions will take place in early July for both track and wrestling.

Email Matt Welch at or follow on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.

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