The journey to the championships continues
Stars and Stripes April 29, 2023
PORDENONE, Italy – Heard that saying about the journey being more important than the destination?
That was a bit up for debate Saturday at a DODEA-Europe track meet hosted by Aviano.
The journey to get to the meet itself wasn’t exactly a fun one for Rota. A canceled flight led to a sprint by the Admirals – fortunately, it WAS the school’s track team – at an airport to get on another flight to northern Italy. So the team didn’t arrive until midnight, but still got some food thanks to Aviano athletic director Shawna Haas.
Still, the Admirals weren’t as bright and bushy tailed – and maybe a bit more unkempt – as usual when they arrived for the meet Saturday morning. And they left without anyone setting personal bests or qualifying for the European championships.
“Not exactly as we’d hoped,” coach Carie Sundberg said with a smile. “Food and rest are important apparently. And still no sign of our luggage.”
It was a bit unclear how much sleep other competitors had, though. Thanks to baseball, soccer and softball contests as well this weekend, about 340 students – twice Aviano’s enrollment - slept in classrooms.
The Saints apparently did benefit from home cooking (and sleeping) as a handful met qualifying marks Saturday, bringing the team’s total to 23 bound for the May 19-20 finals in Kaiserslautern, Germany.
“It was all about qualifying a few more today,” coach Chenna Culver said. “We’ve got all our seniors eligible now.”
For many of those already qualified, it was more about refining technique than trying to set personal bests.
“Working on my form, striding technique,” said Naples senior Chris White, one of the top sprinters in Europe. “I know where the weakest parts of my races are.”
A year ago, White didn’t make it past the first day of competition at the season-ending championships. That’s motivated him this season.
“I’m ready to show people,” he said, brushing off any thoughts of peaking too early. “I’ll save that for Kaiserslautern.”
White was one of a handful of multiple winners Saturday, capturing first in the 100- and 200-meter sprints and taking part in both the Wildcats winning 4x100 and 4x100 relay teams. Sigonella’s Rickalia Goss won four times as well, taking the 100, 200, 400 and long jump.
Naples’ Jack Thomas won both the discus and shot put. The Saints had double winners in Addison Krajicek (100, 300 hurdles), Adin Evans (1,600 and 3,200) and both the girls’ 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams.