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Naples' Daniel Aleksandersen ran away with the boys 3,200 on Saturday, finishing in a time of 10:46.07 - 41 seconds better than his nearest competitor.

Naples' Daniel Aleksandersen ran away with the boys 3,200 on Saturday, finishing in a time of 10:46.07 - 41 seconds better than his nearest competitor. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Naples' Daniel Aleksandersen ran away with the boys 3,200 on Saturday, finishing in a time of 10:46.07 - 41 seconds better than his nearest competitor.

Naples' Daniel Aleksandersen ran away with the boys 3,200 on Saturday, finishing in a time of 10:46.07 - 41 seconds better than his nearest competitor. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Aviano's Marie Seguin won the girls 3,200-meter run in 13 minutes, 28 seconds in Pordenone, Italy.

Aviano's Marie Seguin won the girls 3,200-meter run in 13 minutes, 28 seconds in Pordenone, Italy. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Aviano's Austin Groves helped his team to a pair of relay victories and also won the boys 800-meter run - staging a memorable comeback in the final half lap.

Aviano's Austin Groves helped his team to a pair of relay victories and also won the boys 800-meter run - staging a memorable comeback in the final half lap. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Naples' Valerie Gilfoy won the girls 800-meter run in 2 minutes, 48.04 seconds on Saturday in Pordenone, Italy.

Naples' Valerie Gilfoy won the girls 800-meter run in 2 minutes, 48.04 seconds on Saturday in Pordenone, Italy. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Aviano's Ellie Prewitt won the 300-meter hurdles in 54.04 seconds and also won the high jump and 100 hurdles for the Saints on Saturday.

Aviano's Ellie Prewitt won the 300-meter hurdles in 54.04 seconds and also won the high jump and 100 hurdles for the Saints on Saturday. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Vicenza's Anna Rinehart won the 400-meter run in 1 minute, 9.74 seconds Saturday in Pordenone, Italy.

Vicenza's Anna Rinehart won the 400-meter run in 1 minute, 9.74 seconds Saturday in Pordenone, Italy. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Vicenza's DeAsia Fairley, left, takes a handoff from Altasia Thompson in the girls 4x100 relay event won by the Cougars.

Vicenza's DeAsia Fairley, left, takes a handoff from Altasia Thompson in the girls 4x100 relay event won by the Cougars. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Runners lunge off the blocks at the start of the first heat of the girls 100-meter run on Saturday in Pordenone, Italy.

Runners lunge off the blocks at the start of the first heat of the girls 100-meter run on Saturday in Pordenone, Italy. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Aviano's Te'Kevin Boston clears 5 feet, 4 inches with a scissor kick to win the high jump. He also won both hurdles events on Saturday.

Aviano's Te'Kevin Boston clears 5 feet, 4 inches with a scissor kick to win the high jump. He also won both hurdles events on Saturday. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Naples' Adriane Hines won both the shot put and the discus Saturday with personal bests and has qualified for the European championships in both events.

Naples' Adriane Hines won both the shot put and the discus Saturday with personal bests and has qualified for the European championships in both events. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Aviano's Viyanni Johnson clears 4 feet, 5 inches in taking second Saturday in the girls' high jump.

Aviano's Viyanni Johnson clears 4 feet, 5 inches in taking second Saturday in the girls' high jump. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

Aviano's Madisyn Walker soars through the air trailed by her shadow in winning the long jump Saturday with a best effort of 14 feet, 1 inch.

Aviano's Madisyn Walker soars through the air trailed by her shadow in winning the long jump Saturday with a best effort of 14 feet, 1 inch. (Kent Harris/Stars and Stripes)

PORDENONE, Italy – Team results at this point of the track season, at least in Italy, don’t seem to mean a lot.

Some athletes in a six-team meet hosted Saturday by Aviano weren’t competing in their best events. Others were strung together in relay teams - not to score points in the meet, but see if they could qualify for late May’s European championships.

“We don’t really talk about winning each meet,” Naples coach Isaac Harjo said. “It just doesn’t come up.”

To some, even individual victories don’t mean that much at this time of year.

“Placing doesn’t really matter to me,” Naples’ Adriane Hines said. Of course, that might be easy for the 5-10, 257-pound senior to say. He set personal records in both the shot put and discus in handily winning each event.

But Hines said improving in each event – and not gaining the win – are his goals. At least until it comes to Europeans, where he’s expected to be among the contenders in each event. His toss of 43 feet, 3 inches in the shot put was better than any other mark in Europe entering Saturday. A throw of 128 feet in the discus is among the best as well.

Hines said he’s not really working much on his technique at this point of the season.

“It’s all power for me,” he said. “I lift weights and I lift weights. And it seems to be working.”

Hines wasn’t the only athlete with high hopes for a strong performance in Kaiserslautern on May 27-28.

Vicenza’s Early Wheeler is the defending triple jump champion and won that event by more than 2 feet Saturday. He also raced to victory in the 400, becoming one of a handful of multiple winners on the day.

Others included Cougar sprinters James Ashley and Xavier James (split sprints and 4x100 relay), Naples’ Daniel Aleksandersen (3,200 and 4x800 relay) and Aviano’s Te’Kevin Boston (high jump and both hurdles) and Austin Groves (800 and two relays). Groves had much of the crowd shaking heads in disbelief by overtaking two runners in the last third of a lap in the 800 by sprinting past them and erasing a lead of at least 100 feet. He improved his best time by more than 4 seconds in the process.

Aviano’s Ellie Prewitt matched Boston by winning the high jump and both hurdles and teammate Ginny Belt anchored three winning relay teams.

Aviano and Naples each have a handful of athletes who have met qualifying standards and, along with Vicenza, have several others who are close. One of Aviano’s thrown-together relay teams, the girls 4x400, cleared the standard by almost 7 seconds in the last event of the day despite running together for the first time.

American Overseas School of Rome (15 athletes), Sigonella (six) and Marymount – fielding a team for the first time in years – all had highlights of varying degrees and coaches and athletes say they hope to book more seats on buses heading to Germany in a few weeks.

Harris.kent@stripes.com

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Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.
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