Big schools start off with big results on track
By DAN STOUTAMIRE | STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 15, 2017
WIESBADEN, Germany — Big schools took the lion’s share of available points in a seven-team, all-German DODEA-Europe track and field meet Saturday, with the Ramstein boys and Stuttgart girls taking top honors in the first meet of the season.
Five Division I schools were present, with Wiesbaden and Kaiserslautern also performing well in both boys and girls competition, while smaller schools Ansbach and Hohenfels found it hard to compete with the depth of the Division I teams.
Stuttgart dominated the girls’ distance events, sweeping each of the 800 meters, the 1,600 and the 3,200 with a deep rotation of runners in those events. Tatiana Smith cruised to a win in the 800 and finished second in the 1,600 to teammate Rachael Dickenson, who won the 3,200 by nearly two full minutes.
Strong showings in the field events, including a win and runner-up finish for Ajanae Simmons in the discus and shot put, respectively, and a win for Annika Rivera in the high jump, were enough to put Stuttgart ahead of a strong Kaiserslautern team paced by the dominant Jada Branch, last year’s Stars and Stripes Track and Field Athlete of the Year. She won the 100 hurdles, 100, long jump and triple jump.
The Raiders also benefitted from a strong outing from freshman Skye Morton, who finished first in the 400, second in her favored 200 and third in the high jump in her first DODEA competition.
“It’s challenging but at the same time exciting to compete against others with the experience in things like this,” Morton said. “I did very well in the 200. It’s my favorite since I started running, I fell in love with coming around the curve.”
On the boys’ side, the Royals ran away with things, with several standout performers, particularly in the distance events. John Casey just edged out Kaiserslautern’s Domin Sweet to take the 800, while teammate Colin McClaren won the 1,600 comfortably. They demonstrated their depth in the hurdles where Tyrese Loveday led four Royals who finished in the top six in the 110 event.
Ramstein’s Yhari Dupree puts her team’s overall success – first in boys and a strong third in girls – down to a strong group ethic.
“We do especially well in helping each other out. When people get hurt, someone is always there to pick up the pieces,” she said.
Host Wiesbaden also posted a strong outing, particularly in the sprints and hurdles, with Joel Waan winning the 300-meter hurdles in a tight finish with Loveday and Caleb Brown winning the 400 and running the anchor legs of the Warriors’ winning 4x400 and 4x800 relay teams.
“I feel like we’ve done really well in practice and it shows out here in the meet. There are some things we can tighten up, but this is only the first meet,” Brown said. “We have the work, the drive, we just need to improve the technique a little.”
Saturday’s meet was the first of six straight weekends of competition, which will culminate May 26-27 at the European championships in Kaiserslautern.
Haley Ramage of Stuttgart, left, passes Ayana Cox of Kaiserslautern in the 400-meter dash at a seven-team meet Saturday, April 15 in Wiesbaden, Germany. Ramage, a freshman, finished first in the heat and 13th overall in the event for the Panthers, who took first place in the girls' division.
DAN STOUTAMIRE/STARS AND STRIPES