Come August, Caleb Ojennes will join his Palmer Ridge football teammates for the start of fall football practice. By that time, however, he will have already played a couple of games half way around the world.
Ojennes is in the process of raising the necessary funding that will allow him to head to Australia for a unique football camp in July. He needs to have about $5,000 in his account by the first week of June.
The event runs June 29 to July 7 along the Gold Coast.
“I’m looking forward to the different culture. I think it would be pretty fascinating,” said Ojennes, a Palmer Ridge sophomore. “Also, it will be their winter down there. That will be better than playing football here in 100 degrees. That’s not fun.”
Ojennes (6-foot-3, 185 pounds) was presented with the interesting opportunity to head to the land down under last November by scouts with Down Under Sports. Based in Utah, Down Under Sports has been conducting camps in Australia since 1989. The camps also include basketball, cross country, golf, track and field, and volleyball.
“I am honored to be an ambassador of not only my community and state, but also our country,” Ojennes said.
Ojennes’ special blend of speed, football instincts and skill were a perfect match for Down Under Sports recruiters. Last fall he was tied for second on the Bears in receiving with 11 receptions for 223 yards and two touchdowns. His 20.27 yards per catch jumped out at Down Under coaches Brian Pella and his father Chris Pella.
“Caleb is a great young man on and off the field,” said Palmer Ridge coach Tom Pulford. “He played in six of our seven conference games last season and was named honorable mention all-conference.”
Ojennes’ camp experience will include getting instruction, as well as playing in two games against some of the top high school competition in the United States.
The itinerary also includes wildlife excursions.
The Down Under sports programs use the common language of sports to bridge the continents and provide a forum for athletes from around the globe to compete head-to-head in the sport they love.
Some prior standouts of the Down Under Bowl include Jake Plummer, Ahman Green, Rob Morris, Dave Dixon and Jesse Williams - all former NFL players.
Ojennes’ father and mother - Dan and Candi - are helping their son with his fundraising. Caleb has raised about $1,200. His parents said they are willing to add the final $2,000 to the account if Caleb is able to raise the first $3,000.
“Candi and I thought it would be a unique opportunity for Caleb to go Australia,” Dan said. “Plus it’s a good opportunity to get his name out there as an athlete.”
Caleb is also a skilled track and field star. He helped three Palmer Ridge relay teams qualify for the Class 4A state meet in 2013. The 4x400 team finished third, and the 4x200 team finished fourth. They set school records in each event.
Caleb holds the school record in the 200 (22.69 seconds).
“I got into track a few years ago and I really like it,” Caleb said.
To make a donation, you can contact Dan Ojennes at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 719-243-3120.
You can also go to www.downundersports.com and click on the sponsor link.
You can view Caleb’s football highlight video from last season by going to http://www.hudl.com/athlete/o/1804837/highlights/91083379#.Um3dMH8oKSw.email.