EuropeTrack - Day 2
Stout breaks record twice in as many days
Stars and Stripes May 20, 2023
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – The European record that Ava Stout set Friday in the 100-meter hurdles at the DODEA-Europe track and field championships stood for all of one day.
Before the proverbial ink could dry in the official record books, the Wiesbaden senior lowered her own mark Saturday with a blazing 14.56-second win in the finals, whittling three 100ths of a second off her record-setting turn in preliminaries.
Even before she heard her official time, Stout said she “had a really good feeling” that she had broken the European record again.
“I felt really strong,” she said. “I had my amazing teammates to support me, which made all the difference.”
Stout, who’s headed to Michigan State next year to run Division I track and field, also won the 300 hurdles in dominating fashion. Her time of 46.33 was more than three seconds ahead of runner-up Lellah Guhn, a Kaiserslautern freshman.
The Ramstein girls turned in a dominating performance in the team competition. The Royals ran away with the Division I race, compiling 170 points to outscore Kaiserslautern’s 92. Wiesbaden, last year’s European team champs, was third with 70 points.
Ramstein tallied wins in the girls 3,200 and 400 relays and another in the meet’s last race of the day, the 1,600 relay, after Wiesbaden was disqualified for an exchange zone violation. Another win came from Alysha Edwards, who tossed the discus 5 feet farther than her previous best to beat Kaiserslautern’s Sage Barnes, the No. 1 seed.
On the boys’ side, Stuttgart topped the field with 117.5 points, followed by Ramstein with 106, and Kaiserslautern, last year’s team winner, with 105 points.
No other European records fell on Saturday. But Stout’s teammate, junior Makiah Parker, gave notice that a few are precariously close to toppling. Parker won the 100, 200 and 400, setting personal bests in each event and coming oh-so-close to European records, two of which have been around for nearly half a century by athletes at schools that have long since shuttered. In the 100, Parker ran 11.94, just shy of the 11.8 set in 1975 by both Brenda Givens of Frankfurt and Sondra Thomas of Nuerenberg. Her 57.44 in the 400 was nearly as fast as the 57.28 run by Kaiserslautern’s Jada Branch in 2018. In the 200, Parker ran 24.80, just off the 24.20 set by Osterholz’s Vickie Buford in 1980.
“All the times that I achieved today is something that I’ve been working towards the whole season,” Parker said on Saturday, adding that she’ll be back next year for Wiesbaden to take another shot at the European records.
Parker faced stiff competition, especially in the 400, where Sigonella’s Rickalia Gross had run a season best 57.71 compared to Parker’s 58.59. Ramstein’s Claire Dalling was right in the mix, with a season best 59.92 heading into Europeans.
In the finals, however, Parker was the only one to break 60 seconds. Fatigue may have been a factor, given that no one ran with fresh legs after a day and half of preliminaries and finals.
“I had to dig a little deeper today but it’s all worth it,” said Parker, who was named the meet’s outstanding track athlete for the girls.
Wiesbaden’s Luke Jones earned outstanding track athlete for the boys. A day after breaking the European record in the 3,200 on Friday, Jones came back to win the 1,600 on Saturday, shaving eight seconds off his personal best to win in 4:29.36. A few paces behind Jones a nailbiter of a race played out: Kaiserslautern’s Brandon Seyler, Stuttgart’s Carter Lindsey and Ramstein’s Max Furqueron, all seniors, sprinted together to the finish line. Seyler crossed first in 4:33.58 to get second, while a hair behind, Lindsey and Furqueron tied for third in 4:33.86.
Seyler also finished second in the 400 – and then somehow, in what was his third race of the day, eked out a win in the 800.
“I’m tired,” he said after the 800. “I’m going to sleep tonight.”
Beating Seyler in the 400 was Aviano’s Everett Taylor. For Taylor, it was a win he did not expect.
“It was probably the best race of my life,” he said. “Coming around the final curve, when there was no one in my sights, I just figured I would go for it. I fully expected someone to pass me that final 50 meters.”
Taylor ran a personal best of 50.90, less than a second faster than Seyler and Naples’ Cameron Collins.
Taylor wasn’t the only one marveling at an unexpected gold medal. Naples senior Jack Thomas, competing in his first year of track, heaved the shot put to a personal best of 43 feet, 7.5 inches to beat Stuttgart’s Jack Gruver, the winner Friday in the discus.
And in one of the closest finishes of the day, Kaiserslautern’s Brelan Barnes won the 100, edging out Stuttgart freshman Alex Guthrie by a hair, 11.17 to 11.19.
A year ago, as a sophomore, Barnes didn’t even qualify for the finals in the 100.
After a false start he blamed on nerves, Barnes regained his composure enough to earn his first ever European title.
“There was a lot of competition,” he said. “It pushed me to my best time this year.”
Also running their best times of the year were Naples’ Collins, fellow seniors Christopher White and Jan Castro-Cruz and junior Robert Oliver. The quartet won both the 400 and 1,600 relays, taking particular pleasure in beating teams from Division I schools. Naples is a Division II school. “It feels great,” Castro-Cruz said. “We came in here as the underdogs.”
White also won the 200 in a close race against Brussels’ William Pierce.
The race was Pierce’s last for Brussels, capping an impressive run in which he earned 10 medals at Europeans in four years. Pierce was named the meet’s outstanding male athlete in field events for his wins in the long jump and triple jump.
“I was shocked and kind of stoked to have such amazing competition out here,” he said.
Ansbach’s Tamia McLaughlin was named the top female athlete for field events, after winning the high jump and long jump on Friday and the triple jump on Saturday.
Winning the boys’ high jump was SHAPE’s Samson Tryon. Tryon, Ramstein’s Michael Gonzales and Angel Jones and Caleb Pigge of Baumholder all cleared five feet, 11 inches. After the others fouled out at the next height of 6-1, Tryon cleared the bar on his last attempt to win his first European title.
Other winners on Saturday included: Lakenheath freshman Abra Mills in the 3,200; Vicenza’s Zachary Denton in the 110 hurdles and Ramstein’s Vincent Studer in the 300 hurdles. The Stuttgart boys and Aviano girls won their respective sprint medleys.