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Shoemaker heading 'Down Under'

Thursday, June 30, 2005

East Prairie's Preston Shoemaker
EAST PRAIRIE - East Prairie High School graduate and standout athlete Preston Shoemaker is getting a rare opportunity to showcase his basketball talent in another part of the world.

Shoemaker will be participating in the International Sports Specialist, Inc. Down Under Hoops Classic in Australia, which takes place in mid-July. The all-high school basketball event is in its eighth year and features teams from many of the fifty states. Shoemaker, who was named to the 2002-2003 all-

conference basketball team, will play alongside other Missouri student athletes as he competes against top talent from across the U.S.

"It's an honor," said Shoemaker. "It's like a high school Olympics. I didn't think much about it at first. Then we had fund raisers for it, and it hit me. It's different. It'll be an experience."

Shoemaker was originally picked for the ISSI Missouri football team for the Down Under Bowl, the event the ISSI was founded 17 years ago to promote. However, the East Prairie grad elected to help represent the Show-Me state in basketball instead.

"I just like basketball more," said Shoemaker. "I'm more comfortable with it. I sent them my stats, and they said I could play."

Four games are guaranteed to Shoemaker and his team, but success could bring more, including medals for placing high. Shoemaker is also assured three college credits from Eastern Washington University just for being taking part in the competition.

The two week trip will take Shoemaker and his fellow ISSI athletes to Sydney and in Australia, as well as a three-day stay in Hawaii.

"I'm really looking forward to Hawaii," said Shoemaker. "It seems like a cool place to go."

Shoemaker, who was also a member of the 2005 East Prairie baseball team that set a school record for most wins in a season, is hoping to take full advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime experience.

"I hope to see a lot of new things and meet a lot of new people," said Shoemaker. "I also think it'll prepare me for college ball."