Brandon Bolton headed down under

Robert Blackford/Editor

Brandon Bolton is headed to Australia to compete as part of an Illinois state track team. Bolton, an athlete for the Aledo-Westmer boy's track team, was chosen by scouts to participate in the 21st annual Down Under Sports Tournaments.

The tournament will be hosted this year by Australia. Teams from all 50 states are expected to compete in the tournament.

Bolton, who lives in New Boston, is in the process of collecting the $4,000 it will cost for him to make the trip. Donations can be made at any US Bank under Brandon A. Bolton International Sports Donation Account. The closest US Banks in this area are in Muscatine and Rock Island. He has also sent support letters out to various companies requesting donations. "It would be nice to have a company behind me. That would be cool," said Bolton.

Twenty athletes from Illinois will travel to Australia to represent Illinois. Bolton will be gone from June 28 until July 9. Bolton will meet with his teammates in Chicago where they will fly to Los Angeles and then on to Australia on a 14-hour flight. The trip back will take Bolton to Hawaii. There will be two days of practice after he arrives and then two and a half days of running. While Bolton can only compete in four events in high school he will be able to compete in five in Australia.

Bolton competed at the state level as an eighth grader and last year as a sophomore.

Bolton was chosen for his ability to perform at the state level. Bolton won first place in the state in the long jump as an eighth grader. He also placed fourth in the 4 x 200-meter relay and ninth in the 4 x 100-meter relay. As a sophomore he placed fourth last year in the 4 x 200-meter relay.

This year Bolton is competing in the long jump as well as the sprint relays, 4 x 100; 4 x 200 and 4 x 400. He may also be placed in the individual sprints from the 100 to the 400.