Support our mission
Naples' Anthony Fisher takes the lead ahead of Vicenza's Early Wheeler and teammate Cameron Copeland Saturday during the 400 meters at Creazzo, Italy. Fisher finished in 51.85 seconds and Wheeler finished with 52.36.

Naples' Anthony Fisher takes the lead ahead of Vicenza's Early Wheeler and teammate Cameron Copeland Saturday during the 400 meters at Creazzo, Italy. Fisher finished in 51.85 seconds and Wheeler finished with 52.36. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)

Naples' Anthony Fisher takes the lead ahead of Vicenza's Early Wheeler and teammate Cameron Copeland Saturday during the 400 meters at Creazzo, Italy. Fisher finished in 51.85 seconds and Wheeler finished with 52.36.

Naples' Anthony Fisher takes the lead ahead of Vicenza's Early Wheeler and teammate Cameron Copeland Saturday during the 400 meters at Creazzo, Italy. Fisher finished in 51.85 seconds and Wheeler finished with 52.36. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)

Vicenza's Mariah McCarroll and Altasia Thompson react as they see McCarroll's time during the 400 meters Saturday at Creazzo, Italy. McCarroll ran 1 minute, 3.84 seconds and Thompson ran 1:04.15.

Vicenza's Mariah McCarroll and Altasia Thompson react as they see McCarroll's time during the 400 meters Saturday at Creazzo, Italy. McCarroll ran 1 minute, 3.84 seconds and Thompson ran 1:04.15. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)

Aviano's Taja Dotson anchors her 4x100 relay team to a 54.78 second win Saturday during a track meet at Creazzo, Italy.

Aviano's Taja Dotson anchors her 4x100 relay team to a 54.78 second win Saturday during a track meet at Creazzo, Italy. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)

Vicenza's Abi Houghton gets an early lead during the 1,600 meter run Saturday during a track meet at Creazzo, Italy.

Vicenza's Abi Houghton gets an early lead during the 1,600 meter run Saturday during a track meet at Creazzo, Italy. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)

Naples' Cameron Copeland leads the 100-meter dash Saturday during a track meet at Creazzo, Italy. Copeland had an 11.32 second run.

Naples' Cameron Copeland leads the 100-meter dash Saturday during a track meet at Creazzo, Italy. Copeland had an 11.32 second run. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)

Vicenza's Brandy James leads the pack Saturday during the 100-meter dash at a track meet at Creazzo, Italy. James took first with a time of 13.03 seconds.

Vicenza's Brandy James leads the pack Saturday during the 100-meter dash at a track meet at Creazzo, Italy. James took first with a time of 13.03 seconds. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)

Naples' Nick Snider completes the final hurdle Saturday during a 110-meter hurdle event at Creazzo, Italy. Snider finished first with a time of 16.72 seconds.

Naples' Nick Snider completes the final hurdle Saturday during a 110-meter hurdle event at Creazzo, Italy. Snider finished first with a time of 16.72 seconds. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)

Vicenza's Chanel Powell takes the lead of the 100-meter hurdles Saturday, finishing with a time of 18.84 seconds at a meet in Creazzo, Italy.

Vicenza's Chanel Powell takes the lead of the 100-meter hurdles Saturday, finishing with a time of 18.84 seconds at a meet in Creazzo, Italy. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)

Vicenza's Kate Wilkins pulls ahead of Naples' Ada Laurer Saturday during the 4x800 relay event at Creazzo, Italy. The Cougars won with a time of 12 minutes, 45.58 seconds.

Vicenza's Kate Wilkins pulls ahead of Naples' Ada Laurer Saturday during the 4x800 relay event at Creazzo, Italy. The Cougars won with a time of 12 minutes, 45.58 seconds. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)

Aviano's Dimitri Dawson attempts a long jump Saturday at Creazzo, Italy. Dawson made a jump of 19 feet to take first place.

Aviano's Dimitri Dawson attempts a long jump Saturday at Creazzo, Italy. Dawson made a jump of 19 feet to take first place. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)

Naples' Jessica Wheeler gets some air during the long jump event Saturday at Creazzo, Italy. Wheeler jumped 14 feet, 8 inches.

Naples' Jessica Wheeler gets some air during the long jump event Saturday at Creazzo, Italy. Wheeler jumped 14 feet, 8 inches. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)

Aviano's Jasmine Cole clears the high jump at 4 feet, 5 inches Saturday at Creazzo, Italy.

Aviano's Jasmine Cole clears the high jump at 4 feet, 5 inches Saturday at Creazzo, Italy. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)

CREAZZO, Italy – DODDS track athletes based in Italy appear to be putting the emphasis this season on the first word of the phrase “friendly rivalry.”

During a track meet held Saturday near Vicenza, athletes showed a competitive spirit not only motivating fellow teammates, but those they were competing against.

“I hear all the teams cheering for each other,” Naples coach Isaac Harjo said. “I hear our team cheering for Aviano and Vicenza and their teams cheering for us.”

Harjo says the comradery between the Italian teams causes the athletes to push each other harder.

“I really like to see the positive support between all of the teams,” he said, using the rivalry between Naples’ Anthony Fisher and Vicenza’s Early Wheeler as an example. “They both want to see the best in each other and we all want to see the best from each other.”

Fisher beat out Wheeler in the 400 meters by a fraction of a second with times of 51.85 seconds and 52.36, respectively. Wheeler won the week before as the two vie to see who’s the fastest around the track in Italy.

Vicenza coach Michael Haiderer said a long drive north of the Alps a few weeks ago contributed to the atmosphere.

“I think it’s the bus rides that we spend hours and hours together on,” Haiderer said. “You form bonds and there’s not that pure hatred between each team.”

A handful of athletes had more to cheer about Saturday than others.

Naples’ Caitlin Quirk took the lead early on during the 3,200 meter run and finished in 13 minutes, 5.93 seconds. She knocked 30 seconds off her previous best, according to Harjo.

Quirk lapped all but Vicenza’s Abi Houghton in the race. Houghton won the 1,600 in 6:31.89. Naples’ Bret Baldwin cooked the boys competition with a time of 4:57.45.

Cameron Copeland finished first in the 100, 200 and anchored the 4x400 relay team to a 44.42 second win. He helped the Wildcats win 15 of the events, but he had plenty of company.

Nick Snider, Stephen Nowell, Fisher and Jessica Wheeler all won at least twice in individual or relay events.

Wheeler met her competitive match in the long jump when Aviano’s Taja Dotson equaled her jump of 14 feet, eight inches.

“Taja really came out today and burned it,” Aviano coach Shayla Crumbley said.

Dotson also participated in the Saints’ victorious 4x100 and 1,600 medley relay teams.

The Saints’ Cody Price was first in the shot put and discus events with throws of 39 feet, 1.5 inches and 93 feet, 8.5 inches, respectively.

The teams next converge May 16 in Naples, where they’ll compete the last time before Europeans.

“We’ll have our own pack of support among the Italian schools as we head to Europeans,” Haiderer said.

Duhr.jason@stripes.com


Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up