BUCKSPORT, Maine — Nic Bishop always has been a fan of animals, in particular the wildlife that inhabits Australia.
Next summer the Bucksport High School junior will be able to blend that curiosity with the land Down Under with his passion for football.
The Golden Bucks linebacker and running back has been invited to participate in the 2013 Down Under Bowl as part of a weeklong trip along the Gold Coast of Australia.
“I am really excited about this,” said Bishop, who was selected to participate on a team of high school players representing several Northeast states on the trip. “I’m excited to have this opportunity, and to represent Maine.”
The Down Under Bowl in football is among several competitions of its kind being held in numerous sports next summer including basketball, wrestling, cross country, track and field, and volleyball.
The football competition has been held annually since 1989 as a means of providing exposure for the sport in Australia while at the same time using the common language of sports to bridge the continents, according to the website of International Sports Specialists Inc., organizer of the Down Under Sports competitions.
“I’ve talked with some people who have gone before and they said it was really fun, a good experience,” said Bishop, who is scheduled to leave for Australia on July 6, 2013.
Bishop was a little concerned to learn that summer in the United States is winter in Australia, “but then people told me it will be 70 degrees down there, so that was OK.”
The trip also will include a stopover in Australia’s largest city, Sydney, and some sightseeing opportunities that have piqued Bishop’s interest.
“I’ve always wanted to go there,” he said. “I’m a reptile fan, I like animals, and I’ve always wanted to go to Australia to see all the animals down there.”
Bishop was among the leading tacklers in the LTC this fall in leading Bucksport to a berth in the Eastern Maine Class C championship game. He finished the regular season with 58 solo tackles, 35 assists, three quarterback sacks and one pass interception. On offense, he rushed for a team-leading 553 yards and eight touchdowns on 101 carries, an average of 5.5 yards per carry, for coach Joel Sankey’s Bucksport club.
Bishop subsequently earned All-LTC first-team honors on offense and second-team all-conference accolades on defense.
Bishop said he soon plans to begin raising money to help defray the cost of his trip. Anyone interested in supporting his cause may contact Bishop by mail at 379 Old Belfast Road, Frankfort 04438.