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Australia is next stop for CHS track star Hazelwood

The long range goal of this high school student is to become a professional runner and compete at the Olympics. This is a step in that direction.

By Calen McKinney
, Public Information Officer,
Campbellsville Independent Schools (CIS)

Campbellsville High School track star Taliyah Hazelwood has been chosen to represent her school and country while competing in Australia.

Hazelwood, who will be a sophomore in the fall, was chosen to represent Kentucky on the East Conference Track and Field Team.

The team will compete in the 2017 Down Under International Games, a three-day event hosted on the gold coast of Australia.

The Down Under Sports Tournaments host competitions in many sports, including wrestling, football, cross country, golf, track and field, basketball and volleyball.

Hazelwood said she heard about the program after talking with CHS track coach Steve Doss.

"I couldn't believe it at first," she said. "[I said], 'Mom, they want me to go to Australia to run.'"

Hazelwood was given information about the program before Christmas and thought about whether she wanted to compete.

After some discussion, she and her family decided Hazelwood would compete, and her mother, Jessi Sullivan, and sister Kaia would travel with her.

The family left for Australia on Monday, July 3, and arrive back in Campbellsville in two weeks.

After arriving in Australia, Hazelwood will practice with her team. She will compete against runners from small and large high schools from all over the world.

"So it's all fair," she said.

But the trip isn't all about the competition. Hazelwood will get to do some sight-seeing, she said, and is looking forward to seeing the Great Barrier Reef.

She said she will be on a team of about 300 athletes. Her coach is from Minnesota, she said.

Hazelwood can compete in five individual events. She said she will run the 100- and 200-meter races and might try the long jump and hurdles.

While she is excited to compete in Australia, Hazelwood said her mother is thrilled for the opportunities the competition will provide for her.

Hazelwood said she hopes this three-day meet will make her even more of a competitor.

"Some people have gone [professional] after this event," she said.

And her goal, Hazelwood said, is to become a professional runner and compete at the Olympics.

While she is looking forward to the competition, Hazelwood said she expects it to be difficult.

"I'm going to train like crazy in June," she said.

CHS track coaches Katie Wilkerson and Steve Doss say they are proud of Hazelwood and know she will represent her school, state and country well.

"We are so very proud of Taliyah and her opportunity to race in Australia with Team USA," Wilkerson said. "She is an outstanding athlete and will represent Campbellsville High School well. She will be an ambassador for the United States."

Doss said he believes Hazelwood has great potential and will be a competitor in Australia.

"Taliyah is a hard worker. When she sets a goal for herself, she will do everything she can to achieve it. She will make CHS proud, but even more importantly, she will be proud of herself and all she's accomplished."

CHS Athletic Director Tim Davis said Hazelwood is an athlete who can compete at the next level.

"Taliyah will do whatever it takes to be successful," he said. "She will take advantage of this great opportunity and run with it."

Hazelwood recently completed a very successful season on the CHS track team.

She finished second in the 200-meter dash at region competition on Friday, May 12, which qualified her to compete at state.

On Saturday, May 20, Hazelwood ran in the 200-meter dash at the Kentucky High School Athletic Association state meet at the University of Kentucky track complex.

She finished fifth and set a personal record of 26.77 seconds.

This story was posted on 2017-07-05 12:36:15
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Track Star Taliyah Hazelwood chosen to compete in Australia

2017-07-05 - Taylor County, KY - Photo by Calen McKinney, Public Information Officer, Campbellsville Independennt Schools (CIS) .
Campbellsville High School track star Taliyah Hazelwood has been chosen to represent her school and country while competing in Australia. She recently completed a very successful season on the CHS track team, culminating with a personal record at the KHSAA state meet.

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