European Athletes of the Week for the May 6 edition
Last week: Willeford, a senior who is the defending the European high-jump champion, shrugged off a damp take-off surface Saturday at Mannheim to clear 5 feet, 5 inches and win the high jump by an 11-inch margin in a seven-team meet. The height equals the DODDS-Europe record of 5-5 cleared by Drisana McDaniel of Hahn in 1993.
However, Willeford’s height, which surpassed her gold-medal-winning mark of 5-4 in last year’s European championships, won’t join McDaniels’ in the record book. The school system recognizes new records only when achieved in divisional qualifying meets or the European championships, scheduled for May 28-29 this year.
Despite that, there’s plenty of hope Willeford will grab the DODDS-Europe record this season. Her 5-5 was an inch under her personal best of 5-6, recorded at a home meet last season, according to Bitburg coach Brian Bent. He added in a Monday e-mail that Willeford, whom he says has been high-jumping since she was a sixth-grader, has cleared 5-8 in practice.
Last week: Wallace, a senior who has spent most of the last few years putting himself and the Royals into the record books of three sports, cleared 6 feet, 7 inches Saturday to win the high jump at a eight-team meet at Vilseck.
Wallace’s height, which would have won the European championship at every meet this century, surpassed his previous personal meet-best of 6-2 — which won him the European gold medal in 2007 — and his personal practice-best of 6-4, e-mailed Ramstein coach William Buckley on Monday. The DODDS-Europe record is 6-9½. “He’s only practiced the high jump two or three times this year,” Buckley wrote, adding that Ramstein volunteer coach Jayme Ross, who cleared 6-6 in college, has been working with Wallace on his approach since the end of spring break.
Wallace, who qualified for seven events at last year’s European championships and won the triple jump at 43-2, also qualified Saturday for this year’s triple-jump finale by clearing 42-11, the third-best mark in Europe so far.
Selected by Stars and Stripes staff