A pair of Cottonwood youths are in Greensboro, N.C., competing in the Junior Olympic National Championship for track and field.
Natalie Rogers and Payton Fuller each qualified for the event back in June after beating out hundreds of young athletes during a meet in Hayward.
To help defray travel costs, a tri-tip luncheon fundraiser was held Sunday, July 14.
“People came in droves, which was really exciting because it fully funded both of our families’ travel,” said Michelle Rogers.
“We both had a number in our head of what we needed to raise, and we exceeded that,” Rogers stated.
She added both families had anticipated additional fundraisers, but due to the success of the tri-tip lunch, they have decided to cease fundraising and instead focus on helping to raise money for Taylor Andrews, a West Valley High sophomore recently diagnosed with stage 4 soft tissue cancer.
“Natalie has decided that she is going to wear her Team Taylor t-shirt while competing in the Junior Olympics as a thrower,” explained her mother.
“She is currently in the top three in the Nation for discus and top six in the Nation for shot put. So, she has a really good chance to podium and if she does, everyone in the Nation will see her representing Cottonwood and a family from our area,” Rogers explained.
Payton Fuller qualified for the turbo javelin, shot put and discus. Both his parents, Scott and Patty Fuller, were colligate throwers, and according to Rogers, Payton is following in their footsteps.
“Payton has a challenge on his hands, but also has a great chance to podium. We are all just so excited for these kids,” Rogers said.
She noted that both Payton and Natalie just completed their first track and field season at West Cottonwood School because they were both in the sixth grade.
“They are still beginners… This is their ninth track meet, and they have just blown everyone away, so we are very excited to see how they do,” she stated.
Natalie and Payton started competing on Monday, July 22 and competition wraps up on Sunday, July 28.