Support our mission

This report has been corrected.

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – On the second day of competition at the DODDS Europe Track and Field Championships on Saturday one record fell, two titles were defended, and a host of new champions were crowned.

But most memorable may have been the last event of the day, the 1,600-meter relay, where one team earned a final gold medal for a storied track program, and another saw its winning, near-record setting performance erased by a disqualification.

Wearing Lions’ uniforms for the last time, Heidelberg’s Courtney Morgan, Adellah Summerlin, RaeannAnn Stark, and Shanice Harmon defended their 2012 title in the event and grabbed Heidelberg’s only gold medal of the two-day meet.

Running the anchor leg, Harmon took the baton nearly even with Vilseck’s Bianca Walker, who earlier in the day won the 400 meters in 59.03 seconds. Harmon sprinted ahead of Walker in the inside lane and Walker never reeled her back in.

Heidelberg clocked 4 minutes, 11.64 seconds, knocking five seconds off last year’s winning time, their legs fleet even with an entire community resting on their shoulders.

“It was 100 percent heart,” Harmon said. “It wasn’t even strategy, time, seconds. I think we were just doing it for everyone, for Heidelberg. Everyone told us ‘this is it, this is it.’”

Heidelberg, one of the original American schools in Europe, is scheduled to close next month after more than five decades and countless championships.

“We won it for the fans, the coaches, the Heidelberg community,” Summerlin said.

“If my legs allowed it, I would jump up and down right now,” Stark said.

Nearly jumping up and down after their 1,600-meter relay race were the Ramstein boys. Tyree Hunter, Gregory Desulme, Michael Johnson, and Eric Carter blew away the rest of the field and knew they were oh-so-close to the longstanding DODDS Europe record of 3:22.20, set by Ramstein in 1985.

They missed the record by about a second, but it didn’t matter. Officials disqualified them for a lane violation. The runners were inconsolable.

One relay team did rewrite the record books. Patch’s 3,200-meter relay team of Morgan Mahlock, Kelleen McGuinness, Baileigh Sessions, and Julia Lockridge ran 9:50.76, about four seconds faster than the record set by Patch last year.

It was just one of many dominant performances on the track by the Patch girls that helped lift them to a second-straight Division I title ahead of first and second runner-ups, Ramstein and Wiesbaden.

“They PR’ed in just about every event that they raced,” said Patch coach Philip Bailey. “They came to race.”

The surprise Division I team winner on the boys’ side was Wiesbaden. The Warriors were led by speedy newcomer Anthony Little, a transfer from Fort Knox, Kentucky. The junior won both the 100- and 200-meter dashes, and anchored the Warriors winning 400-meter relay team, a quartet that also included juniors Daivon Poole, DeQuan Reed and Andrew Murray.

After winning gold Friday in the 3,200-meter relay and the 3,200-meter run, Kaiserslautern’s Michael Lawson - named the meet’s most valuable male athlete on the track - added two more Saturday, in the 1,600 and the 800.

In the 800, Lawson dug deep and overcame Heidelberg’s Tyler Holderby down the stretch to win by just over a second, in 1:59.28. Earlier in the mile, Lawson held the lead until the third lap, when Wiesbaden’s Kelsey Thomas passed him. “I wanted to try a mental race with Lawson,” Thomas said. “I know he’s not used to running from behind.”

The strategy backfired. Lawson stuck with Thomas and retook the lead with about 500 meters to go, a move that mentally took Thomas out of the race, Thomas said afterwards. Finishing strong in the race was Ramstein senior George Hyde, who kicked it in to take second.

Also winning multiple medals was Kaiserslautern’s Joshua McGowen, who was named the most valuable athlete in the field events for the boys. On Saturday, the freshman won the 110-meter hurdles in 15.62 and finished second in the long jump to Baumholder senior Ben McDaniels, who - on his last jump - soared to a personal best 21 feet, 9.75 inches. Disappointed in his long jump performance, McGowen came blazing out of the blocks in the 300-meter hurdles, determined to get the win. He got the gold, but barely. He clipped the last hurdle with his leg and fell to the track, throwing himself over the finish line just ahead of McDaniels and Vilseck’s Richard Griffith.

Other notable performances on Saturday included:

-Ansbach’s Caprice Lockett earned her second gold medal of the meet in the triple jump, with a mark of 34 feet, 11.25 inches. She was named the girls’ most valuable athlete in the field events.

-After finishing second to Ramstein’s Kristiana Jones in the 100, Alconbury’s Nastassia Peters blazed to gold in the 200. Peters was named the girls’ most valuable athlete in the track events. Jones earned a second gold anchoring Ramstein’s winning 400-meter relay team. Her teammates were juniors Khalina Polanco and Samantha Carbon and freshman D’Miya Thornton. “We went from fifth (last year) to first,” said an emotional Carbon. “It’s unexplainable. It’s probably the best feeling of the whole year.”

-Despite running mostly by herself, the Stanford-bound Mahlock shaved nearly 20 seconds off her qualifying time to win the girls’ 3,200-meter run in 11:37.96.

-Another Patch senior ended her career with a gold: Abigail Peterson won the girls’ 100-meter hurdles in 16.18, the only hurdler to break 17 seconds.

-In the girls’ 300-meter hurdles, Ansbach junior Mykala Bazen overtook AFNORTH’s Cherry Carnes on the second-to-last hurdle to win by a hair, 47.96 to Carnes’ 48.21.

-Ramstein’s Johnson and Carter finished one-two for the Royals in the 400-meter dash.

-Aviano senior Andrew Bert won his first DODDS Europe title in the high jump, clearing the bar at 6 feet, 2 inches. Patch senior John Michael Jacobson also jumped the same height, but Bert took first because of fewer misses.

-In the boys’ shot put, Vilseck junior Armando Saldana’s winning throw was 43 feet, 2 inches. “I wasn’t expecting it. This is actually my furtherest throw all year,” he said. “I just prayed and stayed focused.”

-Bamberg sophomore Damonique Lamons won the discus throw with a toss of 109 feet, 8 inches.

-After falling short of gold in the mile and 800, Thomas helped Wiesbaden win gold in the 1,600-meter sprint medley with a strong, fast 800-meter anchor leg. -The Patch girls, with 800-meter ace Julia Lockridge on anchor, won the girls’ relay.

: Correction The spelling of Ansbach’s Caprice Lockett has been corrected. Her name was misspelled in programs provided to Stars and Stripes.

author picture
Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
twitter Email

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