Northland Pines athletes prepare to compete in AustraliaSubmitted: 06/19/2018

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Northwoods athletes know what it's like to travel great distances for competitions.

In a few weeks, two of those athletes will travel more than 8,600 miles to compete on a worldwide stage.

Northland Pines track & field athletes Lochlan Siegmeier and Paige Hickson spent their first few days of summer break preparing.

"[I've] just [been] coming out here hurdling and high jumping. I've been in the weight room a lot," Siegmeier said.

But this is no ordinary offseason program for the state qualifier (Siegmeier) and sectional finalist (Hickson).

The two Northland Pines Eagles are preparing to compete in the 'Down Under Sports' track & field competition in Australia against some of the best high school athletes in the world.

"It's awesome. I'm just so excited to have everyone's support," Hickson said.

Some of that support has come in the form of several thousand dollars that the two athletes have raised to help fund their trip.

"Honestly I don't even know what to say," said Siegmeier. "I'm blessed to have this opportunity."

It's an opportunity that helps put Northland Pines and Eagle River on the map.

Pines Track & Field Coach Josh Rhode says that means a lot to the community.

"We're very proud of them, they both had great seasons. We're excited to see what they can do down in Australia," Rhode said.

The 10-day trip will offer the chance to explore a new country, and provide a new challenge on the track.

"[It will be good] seeing competition outside of where I usually compete, and places around the world," Siegmeier said.

The two athletes hope that competition on the other side of the world will bring success right back here to the Northwoods for next year.

"[I want to] go to state and be able to try and win as many meets as I can," Hickson said.

Northland Pines graduate Gabby Herfindahl also competed in the 'Down Under Sports' track meet in 2016, where she finished second in the pole vault.

Siegmeier and Hickson will leave for their trip on July 7.

Story By: Mark Spillane

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