Jones wins in record-setting time (sort of)
Stars and Stripes April 9, 2023
WIESBADEN, Germany – Luke Jones didn’t officially set a record Saturday, despite running a faster 3,200-meter race than anyone else in DODEA-Europe history.
But it might only just be a matter of time – in more ways than one – for the Wiesbaden sophomore.
Running by himself in a large meet on his home track, Jones nearly lapped the entire field over eight laps to finish in 9 minutes, 36.29 seconds. His time was faster than the European record of 9:44.64, set less than a year ago by Elijah Smith, Jones’ former Warriors teammate. But records can only be set at European championships, DODEA officials confirmed Sunday.
Jones was still thrilled with his race.
“It felt amazing,” Jones said. “I just ran by feel; I wasn’t worried about splits because it’s so early in the season. I’m really happy.”
Jones, the DODEA-Europe cross country champion, also won the 1,600 in 4:38.79. That race was much closer. In the 3,200, he crossed the finish nearly 50 seconds ahead of his nearest competitor; in the 1,600, he had to kick down the final stretch to outlast Stuttgart’s Carter Lindsey and Ramstein’s Max Furqueron, who finished less than three seconds behind.
Saturday’s meet featured nearly 450 athletes from 14 teams, with squads traveling to Germany from as far away as Alconbury and Lakenheath, England, and the tiny island nation of Bahrain in the Middle East.
The Bahrain boys punched their way to a respectable sixth place in the team standings with some strong performances in the sprints, hurdles and jumps. The Falcons had an individual champion in Daniel Sobieralski, who won the high jump by clearing 5 feet, 7 inches - the qualifying mark for Europeans.
While athletes were eyeing a coveted ticket to the May 19-20 championships in Kaiserslautern, the meet was a chance for coaches to gauge fitness levels and the competition.
“I use it as an organized practice,” Ramstein coach Will Buckley said. “It gives me a good idea of what the expectations are for the season,” especially for the relays.
The Ramstein girls shone in middle distance and distance, led by senior Julia Harris. Harris won both the 1,600 and 3,200 and anchored the Royals’ winning 3,200 relay team. “We felt good. We were a bit nervous” since it was the first full meet of the year, Harris said.
As expected, Wiesbaden’s Makiah Parker continued her dominance in the sprints. The defending European champion in the 100, 200 and 400, swept the sprints. She also again anchored Wiesbaden’s winning 1,600 relay team, which ran a blistering 4:15.65, nearly 15 seconds faster than the runners-up - also from Wiesbaden.
The junior said she feels “really conditioned and healthy,” and is eager to defend her European titles. More than anything, she wants to improve her times, she said, with the goal of competing at the college level.
Ava Stout, Parker’s senior teammate, also won her individual events - the 100 and 300 hurdles - in typical dominating fashion.
Brussels’ William Pierce also looks to be on track to defend his European crowns with wins in the long and triple jumps. Ansbach’s Tamia McLaughlin won both the girls high jump and long jump.
Kaiserslautern also had a double winner in the throws. Sage Barnes, the defending champ in the shot put and runner-up in the discus a year ago, won both. Ramstein freshman Javier Harrington matched her Saturday by winning both boys throwing events.
Kaiserslautern topped the girls’ team standings, while Stuttgart had the most team points on the boys’ side.
Vilseck hosts another large meet next weekend, with the field then largely breaking up into smaller meets for four weeks before the championships.