by Robert Baldwin
Kaiserslautern sprinter Cedric Ellis won three times, Austin Higby swept the discus and shot put and the boys dominated the relays to win the rain soaked Kaiserslautern track and field meet on Saturday by just two points over crosstown rival Ramstein. The Raiders earned 203 points, Ramstein 201, followed by Wiesbaden with 121 and Baumholder 33. On the girls side, Ramstein defeated the field handily.
“The rain and wind made a big difference on times for the meet, but the kids stayed in good spirits through the day,” said Kaiserslautern Coach Gabriel Horton who hosted the meet. “As a staff we looked at it as a progression week and less on trying to qualify for Euros.”
Ellis has established himself as perhaps the top 200/400 sprinter in the league. He edged Wiesbaden’s fine runner Markez Middlebrooks in the 200 and outran Jaelon Bell and Cameron Chester of Ramstein in the 400. He was also a member of the winning 4×100 relay team. They will all square off again when the Raiders and Royals travel to Wiesbaden tomorrow. The forecast there is rain and temperatures in the high 40s.
In the boys relays, Kaiserslautern won three of the four events, edging Ramstein in two of them and trailing the Royals in the 4×400. But it was a surprising Baumholder quartet that finished second in the SMR 1600 that may have kept Ramstein from winning it all. Senior Lorne Huxtable was the lead runner, followed by Brandon Bankston Jr., Chandler Pigge and Jesse Espinoza. Ramstein finished third in the event.
Competing against the 1A schools is always a welcome challenge for Baumholder, whose enrollment is far less. In a sport such as track and field, the large schools will almost always outpoint the smaller schools because of sheer numbers. But Huxtable proved that talent is not exclusively the domain of the large schools. He won the first event, the boys triple jump, with a leap of 41 plus feet. Huxtable is a favorite to win the Euro 3A crown at that event. He said he relishes a chance to go against the big schools.
“I think it is pretty fun” competing against the big schools, he said from under the Baumholder fans super umbrella in the stands. “I like the competition it gives me because it sort of pushes me towards something. But it is hard to jump in weather like this because the rain is always coming down and it is hard to focus and I have to try my hardest to pay attention to what I am doing.” Huxtable’s jump was a foot less than his overall best and he says that in order to win the Euros, he feels he needs to top 44 feet “which is what I am aiming for.” His ultimate goal is to jump in college.
In the boys distances, the Ramstein pair of Denver Dalpais and Dashiell Rogers won the 1,600 meters and then switched places in the 3,200. Freshman teammate Edward Collazo was right behind them in the 3,200.
Kaiserslautern finished first, second, third in the 800 meters with sophomore Griffen Parsells, Joseph Purvis and Orlando Rojas finishing in that order. Ramstein freshman Gideon Zaugg broke the streak, and then was followed across the line by two more Kaiserslautern runners, Esteban Saldana and Yadiel Rojas. Yadiel Rojas later joined the winning trio as part of the victorious 4×800 relay team.
Perhaps the most dominating performer was Kaiserslautern strongman Austin Higby. The senior won the shot put by eight feet and the discus by twenty feet.
Higby moves his 270 pound frame through the shot and discus circles with great athleticism. Even though the day was miserable and the ring slippery, Higby did what all the great ones do, focused on what needed to be done in spite of the conditions.
“Before the throw you have to get yourself really hyped up,” said the Kaiserslautern senior, who is headed to Texas State next year. “And then when you step into the ring, everything has to just go away. You have to focus on your main throw, like this one has to be the best one you have thrown ever.”.
Higby knows that one weekend does not make a season. He has his eyes on the Euros and knows with whom he will battle when the time comes.
“I know for discus, Ogden Andrews from Ansbach is beating me right now. He is throwing over 140 feet.” In the shot put, Higby named Stuttgart’s outstanding athlete Tripp Carroll, who will wrestle at the Naval Academy next year. Between the three of them, that’s over 500 pounds of athlete.
Every individual boys event was won by a senior with three exceptions, Ramstein’s Dominic Arizpe in the 100 meters, sophomore Parsells in the 800 and junior Bryce Thomas in the long jump. Arizpe defeated Middlebrooks and teammate Jason Jones in the 100.
Ramstein’s Jeremiah Allen won the high jump.
In the girls portion of the meet, Ramstein used its overwhelming depth to win with 242 points, followed by 151 for Kaiserslautern, 115 for Wiesbaden and 15 for Baumholder. Ramstein won nine of the events. Baumholder’s lone victory came from LaNiya Meyers in the 300 meter hurdles with a time of 54.46.Wiesbaden’s two burners, Ashanti Scott and Whitney Bivins, swept the 200 and 400 but were relegated to second and third by Kaiserslautern junior Mallory Harris’ outstanding run in the 100 meters. Harris prevailed by ‘one one hundredth’ of a second. How fast is ‘one one hundredth’ of a second? It takes a person one third of a second to blink, a hummingbird one tenth of a second to flap its wings. In fact, ‘one one hundredth’ of a second is probably not perceptible to the human eye. But thanks to electronic timing, that was the margin by which she beat Scott.
Harris finished third behind Bivins and Scott in the 200 meters. Teammate Skye Morton was fourth, followed by Baumholder’s Kya Williams. Harris also was a member of the winning 4×100 relay team. The three speedsters renew their rivalry tomorrow in Wiesbaden.
In the 800, Wiesbaden finished first, third and fourth, sandwiching Ramstein’s Alexis Pierre-Louis in second.
Ramstein swept both the 1,600 and 3,200 meter races. Jordanne Hill and Kriti Lucero took honors in the 1600 and Lydia Coddington and Catherine Hickman won the 3,200. Coddington, a freshman, finished at 14 minutes, a full 41 seconds faster than her second place teammate.
In the relays, Ramstein won twice while Kaiserslautern and Wiesbaden won one each.
Ramstein took the top three spots in the girls triple jump. Barakat Ibrahim added to her victory as a member of the 4×400 relay team, followed by Sophia Sobczak and Chloe Williams. Williams also won the long jump where the Royals took nine of the 11 places.
Jaya Worthington of Ramstein won the 100 meter hurdles. Caprinia Goode of Ramstein took the shot put and Royal Patience Williams won the high jump.