Europe athletes of the week
Last week: Even though Corder, a 6-foot senior outside hitter, didn’t come up to her .245 season hitting percentage in Aviano’s scrambling five-set victory Saturday in Naples, her spark lifted the Saints from a 2-8 deficit in the deciding set to their 78th straight victory over Mediterranean opponents.
Against a strong Naples defense, Aviano trailed 25-21, 19-25, 18-25 before climbing back, according to coach Hans Hillestad. Although the entire team struggled, Corder, who has a positive hitting percentage for the season, led the Saints to 25-21 and 15-13 victories for their second straight conquest of the Wildcats. The previous Saturday at Aviano, the Saints won 27-25, 25-15, 25-21.
“We were lucky to win,” a relieved Hillestad said of his team’s latest victory.
Naples was the last Med team to defeat Aviano. The Wildcats downed the Saints in the semifinals of the defunct American Schools in Italy League tournament in October 2000.
The Saints play this weekend at Vicenza before traveling to Kaiserslautern Nov. 3-5 to defend their European Division II crown.
— Selected by Stars and Stripes staff
Greg BillingtonCross country
Last week: Billington, a junior who finished second to Danny Edwards of Ramstein in last year’s European cross country championships, continued his preparation for Saturday’s rematch in the Europeans with his fifth straight course record last Saturday on his home course.
Billington finished in 15 minutes and 57 seconds Saturday to set a record on Lakenheath’s 5,000-meter course, his fifth sub-16-minute effort of the season.
According to his coach, John Gilmore, Billington broke records, most of which he set last year, by running 15:58 at American Community School-Cobham on Sept. 17; 15:34 at The American School in England on Sept. 24; 15:50 at London Central on Oct. 1; and 15:33 at Alconbury on Oct. 8.
In addition to Edwards, Billington will be competing against five runners who finished in the top 14 last year when the Big Schools boys cross country European championship race gets off the line at 2 p.m. Saturday at Tompkins Barracks in Schwetzingen.