It’s a wet, wild day for racing in Naples
Stars and Stripes September 23, 2023
NAPLES, Italy – There wasn’t a lot of surprise at the top Saturday when DODEA-Europe’s top cross country runners south of the Alps competed against each other and the weather.
Adin Evans of Aviano and Naples’ Hudson Selph finished first and second in the boys competition for the second straight week and again by a two-second margin (16 minutes, 44 seconds to 16:46).
“(That’s) the way it’s been for the last two races,” Naples coach Chip Noonan said.
The two are known for pushing each other, Aviano coach Ian Birch noted.
A third-place finish by Aviano’s Zachary Taylor helped Aviano (39) come in tops with Naples (46) and Vicenza (47) following.
Sigonella’s Isabella Lyon finished first for the girls in 20:45. Natalia DiMatteo of American Overseas School of Rome was second (21:24) and Kayla Lubba of Vicenza was third (21:34).
Despite rain blurring her vision and mud sometimes slowing her down, Lyon said she was pleased with her finish, which was helped by the strong competition.
“Having someone that could beat me made me push myself harder because I love competition,” said the 14-year-old freshman, who had one of the top times in Europe entering the meet.
AOSR (36) took first in the girls team results. Rota (77) followed with Naples and Vicenza tied just behind in third.
Strong thunderstorms in the Naples area pushed the race start time from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for runners that included the largest field in Italy this season. Marymount and Bahrain also competed.
It was the largest ever hosted in Naples, Noonan said.
The four-hour delay hurt some runners such as Dariadna Lopez-Nieves of Vicenza, who ate lunch thinking that continuing rain would cause the race to be canceled. That forced the 16-year-old junior to drop out due to feeling sick, she said.
Lopez-Nieves plans to use that as motivation next week, she said.
But the wet, cool conditions were ideal for Jose Paulosarmiento of Bahrain who believes his estimated finish of 19:30 was a new personal record.
“I kind of surprised myself with that,” said Paulosamiento, who was aiming for 22:00. He noted that Bahrain’s hot weather makes training difficult and was happy for cooler temperatures.
Vicenza coach Anna Sansone said getting DODEA-Europe’s six South District schools and two international school partners from Rome all together doesn’t happen that often. As a result, Saturday’s race offered an opportunity for athletes to excel.
“When competition is good, everybody gets faster because they are all pushing each other,” Sansone said. “These large meets are exciting.”