Support our mission
It was a crowded field after the first turn in the boys' 800-meter run Saturday, April 23, 2022, in Pordenone, Italy. Aviano's Everett Taylor, left, eventually won the race in a 1-2-3 finish for the Saints.

It was a crowded field after the first turn in the boys' 800-meter run Saturday, April 23, 2022, in Pordenone, Italy. Aviano's Everett Taylor, left, eventually won the race in a 1-2-3 finish for the Saints. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

PORDENONE, Italy – Inspiration was not far off for the many competitors Saturday looking to improve their form and fortunes on the track.

Vicenza senior Jewlya Arrington remembers what it’s like to be the new kid on the block. Or pits, in her case.

As a Humphreys freshman in South Korea, Arrington qualified for the Far East championships. She scratched three times.

“I was just so intimated,” she said Saturday following a dominant performance at a DODEA-Europe track meet that featured all the DODEA-Europe schools with track teams south – and sometimes far west or east – of the Alps.

Arrington won the shot put Saturday with a heave of 26 feet, 1 inch. But it was her effort in the discus – a season-best throw of 98 feet, 6 inches – that had heads turning.

Vicenza's Jewlya Arrington spins around before letting the discus fly Saturday, April 23, 2022. Arrington, who won the virtual Far East discus title last year while attending Humphreys in South Korea, won with a throw of 98 feet, 6 inches.

Vicenza's Jewlya Arrington spins around before letting the discus fly Saturday, April 23, 2022. Arrington, who won the virtual Far East discus title last year while attending Humphreys in South Korea, won with a throw of 98 feet, 6 inches. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Aviano's Kayla Graney just clears the bar in the high jump Saturday, April 23, 2022, at a DODEA-Europe track meet in Pordenone, Italy. Graney and teammate Autumn Thomas tied for first by clearing 4 feet, 7 inches.

Aviano's Kayla Graney just clears the bar in the high jump Saturday, April 23, 2022, at a DODEA-Europe track meet in Pordenone, Italy. Graney and teammate Autumn Thomas tied for first by clearing 4 feet, 7 inches. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

The coronavirus pandemic kept Arrington from competing her sophomore season, but it didn’t stop her from training.

“I practice a lot,” she said. “I’ve pretty much made the discus my sport.”

Winning the discus last year at the virtual Far East meet showed her work – and also her technique – has paid off. She credits her technique to working with her father, Jeff, who is the DODEA-Europe South District Superintendent.

At 5-foot-4 and 140 pounds, Arrington isn’t exactly a physically intimidating figure in her discipline. But her throws can be so. She topped her nearest competitor by more than 30 feet Saturday.

Naples' Cameron Collins won the boys' 400 meters Saturday, April 23, 2022, at a DODEA-Europe track meet in Pordenone, Italy in a time of 53.43 seconds.

Naples' Cameron Collins won the boys' 400 meters Saturday, April 23, 2022, at a DODEA-Europe track meet in Pordenone, Italy in a time of 53.43 seconds. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Sigonella's Amelia Cantwell had a good lead for much of the 1,600-meter run Saturday, April 23, 2022, before holding off Aviano's Autumn Thomas at the end to win in Pordenone, Italy.

Sigonella's Amelia Cantwell had a good lead for much of the 1,600-meter run Saturday, April 23, 2022, before holding off Aviano's Autumn Thomas at the end to win in Pordenone, Italy. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Thanks to coronavirus concerns, the Far East tournament will be virtual again this year. Not so for Arrington and those competing in Europe. Kaiserslautern is hosting the European championships May 20-21.

“I’m very, very excited I get to go and compete in person,” Arrington said.

A host of others from the meet at Aviano’s “home course” in nearby Pordenone will also be making the trip north.

Naples' Abigail Michienzi beats Rota's Sophia Dickkut to the finish line in a heat of the girls' 100-meter dash Saturday, April 23, 2022, in Pordenone, Italy. Both had busy days on the track with Dickkut also finishing first in the 400 and second in the 200 and Michienzi winning the 300 hurdles, anchoring the 4x100 relay team to a win and finishing second in the 800.

Naples' Abigail Michienzi beats Rota's Sophia Dickkut to the finish line in a heat of the girls' 100-meter dash Saturday, April 23, 2022, in Pordenone, Italy. Both had busy days on the track with Dickkut also finishing first in the 400 and second in the 200 and Michienzi winning the 300 hurdles, anchoring the 4x100 relay team to a win and finishing second in the 800. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Naples' Taj Williams, right, and Sergio Ballman took the two top spots in the boys' 300 hurdles Saturday, April 23, 2022, at a DODEA-Europe meet in Pordenone, Italy.

Naples' Taj Williams, right, and Sergio Ballman took the two top spots in the boys' 300 hurdles Saturday, April 23, 2022, at a DODEA-Europe meet in Pordenone, Italy. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

That includes members of two teams that had a long way to go to get to Saturday’s meet. The Rota Admirals began their journey at 3 a.m. on Friday with a flight from Spain.

“This is actually one of our better trips,” coach Carie Sundberg said. “We got a lot of qualifiers today. So it was worth it.”

Her daughter, Daphne, had already qualified in four events: the long jump, triple jump, 100 and 300 hurdles. She won the long jump Saturday before tripping over one of the final obstacles in the 100 hurdles and falling to the track. She finished the race and didn’t compete again Saturday as a precaution but is expected to compete in Germany.

Vicenza's Chansayrai Owen sends the shot put away from her during a DODEA-Europe track meet Saturday, April 23, 2022 in Pordenone, Italy.

Vicenza's Chansayrai Owen sends the shot put away from her during a DODEA-Europe track meet Saturday, April 23, 2022 in Pordenone, Italy. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Aviano's Ben Udall holds off Vicenza's Matthias Ganley to win the boys' 1,600 on Saturday, April 23, 2022 at a DODEA-Europe track meet in Pordenone, Italy.

Aviano's Ben Udall holds off Vicenza's Matthias Ganley to win the boys' 1,600 on Saturday, April 23, 2022 at a DODEA-Europe track meet in Pordenone, Italy. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Bahrain topped Rota’s trip by a few hours. The journey also featured a quick sprint through the Istanbul airport for a connecting flight, coach Jenny Wassom said.

But she said the five girls and 15 boys on her team wouldn’t want to have missed their only meet of the season in Europe before the championships. The Falcons have been holding their own meets in Bahrain and had several athletes already qualified.

“To me, this is better than any practice could do,” Wassom said. “And the kids are just having so much fun.”

Vicenza's Zach Denton won the 110 hurdles Saturday, April 23, 2022, in a DODEA-Europe track meet in Pordenone, Italy. Denton's time of 14.91 seconds was more than 3 seconds better than his closest competitor.

Vicenza's Zach Denton won the 110 hurdles Saturday, April 23, 2022, in a DODEA-Europe track meet in Pordenone, Italy. Denton's time of 14.91 seconds was more than 3 seconds better than his closest competitor. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Sigonella'sJaqueline Smith got off to a strong start in a heat of the girls' 200-meter dash on Saturday, April 23, 2022 in Pordenone, Italy. Smith won the girls' 100 hurdles.

Sigonella'sJaqueline Smith got off to a strong start in a heat of the girls' 200-meter dash on Saturday, April 23, 2022 in Pordenone, Italy. Smith won the girls' 100 hurdles. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

author picture
Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.
twitter Email

Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up