Gonzalo Sanchez, Jr.

Gonzalo Sanchez, Jr., holds up the certificate he earned from Down Under Sports for being invited to compete on the Gold Coast of Australia in July. Sanchez has been a track and field athlete for a little over two years and has earned the opportunity to go to Australia. He’s excited to go, he said.

JENNIFER DENEVAN/Laughlin Nevada Times

LAUGHLIN — Gonzalo Sanchez didn’t know that when he took a chance on competing in track and field that he’d earn an invite to go to Australia to compete against other athletes from around the world.

Sanchez learned earlier this month that he was invited by Down Under Sports to compete in track and field events for Team U.S.A. July 8-17 on the Gold Coast of Australia. He’ll be joined by athletes from around the country to compete as Team U.S.A. and against other teams from other countries.

Down Under Sports has similar events for other sports including golf and football. College and Olympic recruiters are known to attend to seek out athletes.

It was a complete surprise to Sanchez, he said. He received the letter from his track and field coach, Mitch Mulcahy. All he could do was grin from ear to ear, Sanchez added.

By the time he received the letter, Sanchez had only competed in track and field for two high school seasons. He started out his freshman year after moving in with his father.

Sanchez said his friend, Josh Furr, is who encouraged him to try out for track and field his freshman year. Sanchez decided that’s what he would dedicate himself too ever since.

Sanchez said he loves to hear the cheering and the roar of the crowd and that keeps him going in terms of working out so hard for track. There are some days he’d rather leave class to go for a run, he added laughing.

Sanchez’s father, also Gonzalo, said at the time, Sanchez seemed to be struggling and that’s why he came to live with Gonzalo Sr. The elder Gonzalo laid out the rules for behavior but it almost wasn’t needed because the younger Gonzalo seemed to take to it and has done well, Gonzalo Sr., said.

“He’s a very good kid,” Gonzalo Sr., said. He’s self-motivated and is doing what he can to help himself out, Gonzalo added.

In the last year, Sanchez has thrown himself into running in particular. He takes himself out running, he’s developed his own routine to train.

Sanchez searches YouTube for videos helping him train. He’s created a specified diet at this point to help him also that includes protein shakes and foods that most help runners.

He lifts on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, he said. He runs on Tuesdays, Thursdays and sometimes he’ll do a long distance run on Saturdays and Sundays are either for a light jog or it’s an off day, he continued.

The tricky part comes down to raising the money to attend this special event. Sanchez needs to raise a total of $4,699 to attend. He’s already paid for a deposit, which mean the organization immediately provided some funds to help support him. His parents, including his stepmother, are working together to raise funds also.

Gonzalo Sr. said he is willing to do what he needs to help his son go and be part of this opportunity. He said he’s proud of the work his son has put in and wants to encourage him to do it so he doesn’t want the money to be an issue or the reason it holds him back, especially when Sanchez puts in the work to achieve goals.

Anyone who wants to help Sanchez can donate online at downundersports.com/payment/FAA0-7F19-02EA or send checks made payable to Down Under Sports and mail it along with a sponsorship letter to Down Under Sports, P.O. Box 6010, North Logan, UT 84341. Sanchez has copies of the sponsorship letter. It’s also possible to pay by phone at 435-753-4732.

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