Stuttgart dominates as cross country season opens
By MARTIN EGNASH | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 7, 2019
VILSECK, Germany – Stuttgart cross country runners ran their way to almost all the top places Saturday as the season got off to a fast start.
The Panthers are second behind only Ramstein in DODEA-Europe by enrollment and are almost twice as big as their fellow D-I team, Vilseck.
Those numbers were on display as Stuttgart took nine of the top 10 places in the boys race and six of the top 10 for girls.
One of their standout runners was Mckinley Fielding, who finished her three miles in 18 minutes and 58 seconds.
“Holy cow,” Fielding exclaimed when she found out her time, which is a new personal record.
As soon as the pistol fired, Fielding sprinted ahead of her competitors, and kept increasing the distance between her and the pack the entire race.
“I like to start fast. That way I just have to push myself to just keep it up,” she said.
However, creating that much distance isn’t always easy, she said.
“It’s hard to keep pace when nobody else is around you,” she said.
Fielding finished more than a minute and 30 seconds ahead of the next fastest girls’ runner, Kayla Ballard, who came in at 21:30.
Fielding attributes her great run to wrestling, which she says helps her strength and power.
She’s been wrestling since she was 3 and currently wrestles at 106 pounds at Stuttgart.
Stuttgart almost took every spot in the top ten placements for boys, however, they couldn’t secure the No. 1. That honor went to Kaisersautern’s Griffen Parsells.
Parsellis said he thinks he could have done even better if his team arrived earlier to walk the route before they ran, as one of the hills took him by surprise.
Kaiserslautern arrived late to the race due to transportation issues, however, Parsells said part of why he ran so well was because his team warmed up by playing ultimate frisbee before the run.
Though he was happy with his time, and coming in first place, he said it felt even better not letting Stuttgart get all of the top ten spots.