Neither South Whidbey wrestler Chase Barthlett nor boys golfer Anton Klein have been to Australia. This summer, that will change.
The pair will represent Washington in their respective sports during international tournaments in late-June, early July.
The trip is sponsored by Down Under Sports, an organization that tries to bridge the gap between continents through the promotion of youth athletics. Klein and Barthlett, both state competitors and soon-to-be seniors, were invited by the organization based on their athletic merits and leadership qualities, though it comes with a price tag. Barthlett raised the $4,900 necessary for the trip on June 9, while Klein is only $300 away from his mark of $6,000. Klein hopes community support will round out the costs.
Though he is not keen for flying, Klein is excited for what the opportunity will bring. He’ll be among 60 players from the United States who will play in an 18-hole all-American tournament at Palmer Gold Coast Golf Course, followed by an 18-hole international tournament at Emerald Lakes Golf Course against Australian players. The trip will last from June 24 to July 2.
Playing against athletes from a different country will also be new territory for Klein.
“I think it’s going to be a little surreal,” Klein said.
After a rough performance at this spring’s class 1A state boys golf championships, Klein is eager to learn what he can from the week-long trip.
Klein said he’s been fundraising since early December. He held a Christmas event, utilized social media and went to a few businesses and organizations to acquire more donations. The $6,000 will cover insurance and other fees, while he plans to pay for basic expenses such as food and travel with his own money.
Klein can fundraise up until Aug. 1. To support Klein, visit https://downundersports.com/payment
Barthlett is also excited to experience the new atmosphere when he flies out for Australia July 9. The heavyweight wrestler hopes to learn new techniques, training methods and conditioning while facing competition he expects will be the toughest he’s seen in his career. Like Klein, going two-and-out at the Mat Class State Championships in February left a lasting impact on his drive to be a better wrestler.
“It’s definitely going to be new, but I adapt to things quick,” Barthlett said.
Barthlett’s teammate, soon-to-be sophomore Aryeh Rohde, is also looking for support from the community to fund costs for traveling to technique camps throughout the summer. To support Rohde, visit https://www.gofundme.com/bewed68k.