As one of Payson High School's most accomplished student-athletes, sophomore Shea Hatch has been invited to compete in this summer's Parkroyal Down Under International Games in Australia and New Zealand.
In the games, Hatch will be a member of the American Volleyball Team that will be competing against Australian and New Zealand teams in several tournaments.
"Shea is a very motivated and talented volleyball player," coach Chris Schwind said. "Her enthusiasm for the game is one of her strongest assets."
Schwind has tutored Hatch the past two seasons.
"Shea has the dedication, ability and energy to become successful in anything she is determined to achieve," she said.
For Hatch, the invitation to participate in the prestigious sports and cultural exchange represents a lifetime opportunity. Not often, she said, do high school students have the chance to travel abroad to participate in sports they love.
George O'Scanlon, an organizer of the annual tour, agrees.
"Those who have participated in our past sports tours have had an unforgettable and life changing experience," he said. "They see a part of the world that is truly fascinating while acting as ambassadors for America and the sporting traditions we love."
The American team's summer tour will leave Los Angeles date yet to be determined for an eight-day stay in Australia, and a three-day stay in Hawaii.
In Sydney, they will visit the site of the 2000 Olympics as well as the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbor. On the Gold Coast in Queensland, they will take in Sea World and O'Reilly's Tree Top Walkway.
In Brisbane, their cultural tour includes stops at Surfer's Paradise beaches, the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and the Baribuynma Aboriginal Cultural center.
After four days of volleyball Down Under tournament games, the team will travel to Honolulu where they will visit the Polynesian Cultural Center, Diamond Head and snorkel and surf on world famous Waikiki Beach.
The itinerary is full, but Hatch says she's excited about the challenge of traveling and competing internationally with her teammates.
Looking for bucks
For Hatch to accept the invitation to participate in the Down Under International Games, she must earn the money to pay travel expenses plus room and board abroad.
Her first fund-raising endeavor will be a benefit steak dinner from 4:30 to 7 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday) at the large ramada in Rumsey park. The menu will included barbecued sirloin steak, baked potato, beans, bread and beverage.
Tickets available at the dinner are $5 for adults and $3 for children.
In addition to the benefit, Hatch is asking for sponsors to help defray the cost of the trip.
Any sponsorship she receives, Hatch said, "would be genuinely appreciated.
To sponsor Hatch or to purchase dinner tickets, call 474-4116.