The University of Florida is a far cry from the Forbes Botanical Gardens but come the end of August it will become home for middle distance runner, Jessica Pascoe, who realised her passion for running with the Forbes Little Athletics Club.
Jess showed great talent for the 1500 & 3000m events during her high school years but since graduating from Forbes High in 2014 has gone from strength to strength in Canberra where she is currently studying to become a PE/Mathematics teacher. The University of Florida scouted Jess through her results posted on the internet and first contacted her through Facebook. “It felt a bit weird when they first contacted me on Facebook,” Jess said. Jess and her father, Darren, recently made the trip to Los Angeles, then Orlando and finally Gainesville to experience everything one of the leading American Universities had to offer.
The facilities and scholarship was more than Jess had imagined or expected and made her decision to accept a four-year full scholarship with the Florida Gators Cross Country and Track Program. The scholarship will cover all the costs associated with her studies and the running program, including training apparel and shoes by Nike, she will enter alongside 20 other promising athletes from around the world. All of her food and travel expenses to Australian and International Competitions and Trials, where she will still compete as an Aussie, are also covered.
Jess was also surprised to find out that sports drink ‘Gatorade’ was designed there. The University have graciously allowed Jess to remain in Australia until she competes in the National Cross Country Championships on August 20.
By Anita Morrison