It's Royals vs. Panthers - in everything
By GREGORY BROOME | STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 13, 2017
Super-sized bragging rights are on the line this weekend as DODEA-Europe’s two largest high schools, Ramstein and Stuttgart, face off in every spring sport.
The Ramstein Royals visit the Stuttgart Panthers on Saturday for boys soccer, girls soccer, baseball and softball games, while the two schools will each send their track teams north to participate in the mega-meet at Wiesbaden.
Each matchup in the historic German rivalry features significant Division I championship ramifications.
The Panthers and Royals have dominated large-school girls soccer for a decade. Though they met in the semifinals last spring in lieu of their customary championship-match showdown, the two powerhouses remain the teams to beat in DODEA-Europe. Both enter the weekend undefeated after Ramstein edged Wiesbaden and Kaiserslautern and defending champion Stuttgart blanked Vilseck 7-0 prior to spring break.
The Ramstein-Stuttgart boys soccer series can’t rival the backstory of the girls’ epic feud, but it remains a key milepost on the Division I regular-season schedule. A heartbreaking 2-1 loss to local rival Kaiserslautern on March 30 knocked the Royals from the ranks of the Division I unbeaten, a four-team group that includes the Panthers.
Ramstein and Stuttgart are centrally involved in a compelling early-season race in Division I baseball. The Panthers impressed on opening weekend with 3-1 and 10-0 wins over Wiesbaden, which proceeded to end Ramstein’s three-season winning streak days later. That produced a scrum of evenly matched large-school contenders that this weekend’s doubleheader should begin to untangle.
This weekend’s set of Royals-Panthers softball games mark the first time the teams will lock up since their scheduled meeting for the European championship game was canceled due to weather last spring, leaving Stuttgart to be declared champion. The Panthers and Royals warmed up for this weekend’s encounter by each beating up on overmatched Wiesbaden in March.
In track and field, the Royals will launch their defense of the Division I team girls title and the Panthers will do the same for their 2016 boys crown as they take their places in a massive eight-team season-opening meet.