The Europe sports year in photos
By STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 29, 2017
New champions were crowned and dynasties were extended in a memorable calendar year of DODEA Europe sports.
The Stuttgart Panthers strengthened their hold on the winter sports early in 2017, completing an undefeated girls basketball season with a decisive run through the Division I tournament and adding to their ongoing championship runs in marksmanship and wrestling. On the boys side, the Ramstein Royals won their third straight Division I crown.
The spring season brought rebirth for two large-school soccer programs. The Kaiserslautern Raiders knocked off rival Ramstein for the Division I boys crown, while the Wiesbaden Warriors supplanted reigning champion Stuttgart for the Division I girls championship. But not every upstart was rewarded — Ramstein stretched its baseball title reign to five seasons, and was joined by the Royal softball team in a sweep of the Division I diamond titles.
In November, the final championships of the calendar year produced a new crop of worthy champions. Spangdahlem, formerly known as Bitburg, returned to the Division II football throne for the first time since 2012. Stuttgart completed a convincing undefeated season with a defeat of Ramstein for its second Division I football crown in three seasons. And Lakenheath claimed a long-sought Division I girls volleyball title with a thorough sweep of reigning champion Stuttgart.
For all of those schools’ success, the signature program of the 2017 DODEA Europe sports year might well be the Sigonella Jaguars. The tiny Italian program dominated the small-school sports landscape throughout, sweeping the boys and girls basketball titles in winter, collecting matching baseball and softball championships in the spring and capping the year with its third consecutive Division III girls volleyball crown.