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Lanesboro athlete prepares for DownUnder Sports Competition

By Mitchell Walbridge

Fri, Apr 19th, 2013
Posted in Lanesboro Education

Lanesboro junior Gabe Decker will be participating in the Waushara County Crime Stoppers JailBreak Marathon in preparation for his trip to Australia for the DownUnder Track and Field Sports competition. Photo submitted

By Mitch Walbridge

Gabe Decker is a junior at Lanesboro High School who takes his participation in athletics very seriously, particularly his involvement in the Lanesboro-Fillmore Central-Mabel-Canton track program. But this year Decker is taking track and field to another level by competing in the DownUnder Sports Track and Field contest, a unique event specifically designed for international high school competitors.

This year’s DownUnder Sports Track and Field competition is the event’s thirteenth and will take place for three days, running July 5 through July 7. The DownUnder program itself has been around for 25 years since 1989. This year the competition takes place on the Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus in Australia. Also, participants will spend several days exploring the Australian landscape and experience Australian culture as the tournament package runs June 30 to July 8.

At the DownUnder Sports Track and Field Meet Decker will compete in five to seven events. He will compete on the North Central Conference Team along with 299 co-ed athletes representing all of the fifty states. Currently, it is unknown as to what events Decker will be participating in July, but possibilities include the running events ranging from 100 meter to 800 meter relays, and of course, one of his favorites, the pole vault. He took first place in the pole vault at the section track meet last year, and he currently holds a personal record of thirteen feet.

In preparation for his Australian adventure, Gabe Decker has another goal on the horizon: the Waushara County Crime Stoppers JailBreak Marathon, which takes place on April 27. He will be using this marathon as a fundraiser to aid in paying for his admission to the DownUnder Track and Field Meet. Decker is asking for per mile donations for the JailBreak Marathon. So far, his fundraiser has proven to be successful. Friends and family from the local area and from around the country have pledged to support him. Fundraising is only one step of the preparation process, however. Decker takes his track practices seriously and does even more training individually after track practice, sometimes running several additional miles to help ready himself for the 26.2-mile jaunt he’ll attempt in just about a week.

As he continues to make progress to his fundraising goal, anyone who wishes to add support for Decker can write checks out to DownUnder Sports and send them to Gabe Decker or Sara Baskett at 701 Rochelle Avenue South, Lanesboro, Minnesota. Credit card donations can also be submitted through DownUnder Sports’ website,, while specifying the donation to Gabe Decker.

Gabe is excited for his upcoming summer trip. The Down-Under Sports program and the excursion to Australia will be a valuable educational experience in addition to adding to his athletic credentials. Decker commented, “I believe this Down-Under Sports trip will broaden my knowledge of the world, provide me with a better appreciation for what I have, give me a first-hand understanding of different cultures, build global connections for my future, and teach me valuable life lessons such as being able to set goals and accomplish them . . . and of course give me a great travel experience!” Decker expresses his gratitude for those who have shown their support and appreciates everyone who helps him reach his goals.

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