High Point hurdler represents U.S. in Australia to ‘the glory of God’
By Allen Palmeri
June 14, 2005
HIGH POINT – A 16-year-old member of the youth group at High Point Baptist Church is bound for Australia to represent America in a track and field competition.
Jessica Bockelman, a junior at California High School, will run two low hurdles events for the Midwest Striders track club, a collection of athletes from Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa. Her July 2-13 tour of Australia was financed, in part, by generous donors from her church. When the Bockelman family raised $2,400 for the trip, High Point Baptist Church stepped up to raise the rest of the $1,600 that was required for her to go, plus spending money, according to Pastor Ray McDonald.
“We’re doing it for a testimony for our Lord,” McDonald said. “We’re hoping that she will speak for the Lord and show her character. We want to do it for the glory of God and not for ourselves.”
Bockelman is making her mark in the track community in the 300-meter low hurdles. Her first two years in high school she placed at state meets – eighth as a freshman in Class 3A and sixth as a sophomore in Class 2A. Her fastest time is 47.71, which ties a school record.
“The hurdles kind of give you something to do while you’re running,” she said. “You do need a lot of endurance, because you have to sprint the whole thing.”
Bockelman is well aware that because of the financial contributions of church members who believe in her potential, she is being sent to Australia as a type of missionary as well as a track and field athlete.
“I think that’s excellent,” she said. “I’m very excited. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do my best.”
She is being asked to compete in the 100 and 200 hurdles.
“I have no idea what to expect,” she said.
McDonald expects that she will do just fine.
“She’s a faithful member,” the pastor said. “I would say she is a strong leader for the future.”