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Cholla High School student to compete in 5K in Australia - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Cholla High School student to compete in 5K in Australia

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Cholla High School's Uriel Fernandez runs cross country, but he never thought he'd cross oceans.

"This will be the first I go anywhere across the sea," Fernandez said. 

Thanks to an organization that deems him one of the top distance runners in Arizona, Fernandez has the opportunity to head to the city of Brisbane for a 5.7K race.

"I got the letter this December, so to find out I was considered and invited to go to this race was really shocking to me," Fernandez said.

The event is part of Down Under Sports, an organization based in Utah that takes top athletes to Australia for competition.

His dad, Omar Ricardo Fernandez, an Air Force vet, balanced his time with work to help Uriel raise the necessary thousands.

"Well as a parent I gotta do what I gotta do for my son to go," Omar Ricardo said.

"We had a menudo sale awhile ago along with a car wash on the same day," said Uriel. "But we made most of the profit from food." 

A mix of local businesses and organizations were also helpful, according to the family. Omar Ricardo cites AMVETS Post 770, American Legion Post 59, and American Legion Post 68 as some that helped Uriel raise money for the trip.

Uriel will be representing the United States in the race, which he said will help him as he tries to become the first four-time state cross country participant in Cholla history; and even further down the road as he shoots for even bigger dreams.

"I never thought in anything that I would compete internationally," said Uriel. "Except the Olympics -- that is something I want to do."

The Fernandez family is about $1,000 short of hitting their goal for Australia, if you would like to donate, click HERE.

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