CREAZZO, Italy – Four teams converged Saturday at a local athletic club near Vicenza to compete in one of the season’s few remaining track and field events south of the Alps.
Those who didn’t show missed out on an opportunity to qualify for Europeans.
Host Vicenza has more than one hopeful for the year-end meet, including one paving his way to leaving a lasting impression at this year’s finals – Karl Bulgin.
“He is one of the premier athletes in DODDS – period – he has an amazing gift – he’s fast and he’s humble,” Vicenza coach Philip Greene said. “I think it will be an interesting dynamic at Europeans with the kids from Wiesbaden and Kaiserslautern.”
With a bad start out of the box and an injured hamstring from earlier in the week, Bulgin was still able to run an 11.05 second 100 meters.
“He probably could have done a sub-eleven if he got a good start and his leg wasn’t bothering him’” Greene said of Bulgin, who just started running track this year. Greene expects to see him taking the 100- and 200-meter races as a senior next year, because “he’s just that good.”
Bulgin took firsts Saturday as an individual in both the 100 and 200 and as a member of the 1,600 sprint medley.
His performance raised eyebrows at the meet.
“I liked the competition today, especially with the boys 100 and 200,” Naples coach Mark Tyler said. “He’s a new kid and it’s really good for us down here because our kids don’t usually see any fast athletes until we get to Germany for Europeans."
Naples’ Ashley Forte, who took first in four events, covered some ground of her own with speeds destined for Europeans, running a 13.30 in the 100, 27.25 in the 200 and 1:01.03 in the 400. She’s qualified to compete in those events at the finals plus the 4x400 relay.
She was able to capture the high jump Saturday at 4 feet, 4 inches.
American Overseas School of Rome jumped in the mix by taking team points in the triple jump with Christopher Hicks, who jumped 34’-5” behind Vicenza’s Early Wheeler who jumped 39’-4” for first.
Falcons coach Stephen Caldwell was overall content with the meet and the near qualification of Lucrezia Basei, who missed qualifying for Europeans by four seconds in her first 300 hurdles race.
“I’m pretty proud of doing so well, considering,” Caldwell said, alluding to the soccer field the team practices on, because the school doesn’t have a track or hurdles.
Aviano’s Claudia Howes and Riley Fulton both scored team points in two individual and two team events.
“We’re looking forward to Naples, they (the Saints) always seem to do better there – it’s a mental thing,” Aviano coach Meghan Sindelar said.
The Naples boys took first in team points with 135.5, followed by Vicenza (40), Aviano (25) and AOSR (18.5), while the Wildcats’ girls scored 86.5, followed by Vicenza (58), Aviano (55.5) and AOSR (12).