Cross country teams as well as area golf athletes have begun their seasons at schools in the Kaiserslautern Military Community. At the close of the regular season, Europeans championships for cross country will be hosted by Baumholder, with athletes again traversing the terrain at Rolling Hills Golf Course. Golf will again have its Europeans championships at the Rheinblick Club in Wiesbaden.
Last year: Won Division I title
With a group of seasoned coaches and a pedigree of strong success, the Ramstein Royals cross country harriers will again look to win the DODEA championship this season. Ramstein won the boys’ overall title last season, and have taken that overall championship in all but two seasons since 2010.
Barring injuries, Ramstein looks to have a strong season on the boys’ side with Dash Rogers and Denver Dalpais leading the squad into the 2018 school year. Both runners were a big part, along with graduated teammate Jose Serrano, in helping Ramstein stave off a challenge from Kaiserslautern and the rest of Division I squads. Rodgers finsished fourth overall and Dalpais was eighth, plus Europeans boys’ qualifiers Enrius Colazo and John Odom also return this season.
Ramstein girls who qualified for Europeans last season and hope to contribute and maybe help the Lady Royals challenge Stuttgart’s dominance include Jordanne Hill, Kristen Lucero, Macky Bohne, and Victoria White.
Last season: Finished second to Hohenfels in Division III
Baumholder’s boys return four of their top five runners from last year’s squad. Jesse Espinoza was the top Division III runner last year, along with seniors Lorne Huxtable and Brandon Bankston, then junior Gavin Baldevia.
With the addition of freshman Hiromi Maranga and junior Laurence Huxtable, the BHS boys hope to be able to challenge again for a Europeans team title. Others who will likely contribute to the varsity scoring will be freshman Javaughn Williams and senior Sam Coyour.
On the girls side last season, Baumholder missed qualifying for the final Europeans meet after being there the previous three years. This year they will be led by a strong group of freshmen who moved up from the middle school ranks.
The ninth graders of note include Sariah Morton, Maddi Brech, and Kaleena Sais. Last year, Morton was consistently among the top varsity runners in DODEA, but was not able to score because she was in middle school.
In addition, sophomores Lydia Coyour and Regan Ridling, plus freshman Emma Swedlund and junior Calissa Ridling look to have a hand in helping push the BHS attack.
Last year: Finished fourth in Division I
Kaiserslautern has trained hard leading up to this season and had five runners to place in the top 20 of last year’s Europeans championships. Joseph Purvis was the high finalist for the Raiders along with Orlando Rojas, Griffen Parcells, Connor Mackie and Yadiel Rojas. Both of the Rojas brothers are back, for head coach Merle Mackie.
Kaiserslautern had one athlete, Elonie Ward, to finish in the girls’ top 20 last season but has some younger runners making their first stab at varsity athletics this season and could wind up with success.
The Royals and Lady Royals won the overall DODEA Division I championships after seeing multiple players qualify for Europeans during 2017 season. Senior linkster Phoebe Shin, sophomore Ben Todman and senior Lauren Sutherland all return and figure to qualify again for the final meet in mid-October.
“You could tell immediately as we opened practices that Ben had been working extensively on his game,” said coach Steve Kennedy, who pairs with Nathan Brewster on the RHS staff. “Phoebe beat Lauren at last season’s Euros but Lauren had topped her during the regular season. They compete hard and we have others who are out this season who give us depth.”
Ramstein players Shin, Sutherland, Isabel Craige, plus everyone making up the rest of the DODEA field were all trying to catch Jasmin Acker of Kaiserslautern a year ago. Acker won three straight individual DODEA golf titles and her KHS teammate Kaden Senkbeil scored a boys’ championship. Neither of them return this season so the Raiders are looking elsewhere for scoring.
George Stephen is the top KHS player for 2018, having placed ninth overall at last year’s Euros. Head coach Chris Grogan understands the potential for falloff after losing two standouts like Acker and Senkbeil, but said Stephen is the type of person who could provide leadership and guidance for new athletes on the squad.