Panthers make history at Europeans
November 16, 2010
STUTTGART, Germany -- Patch High's fall sports season this year had a few history-making highlights.
Patch's boys cross-country team ended Ramstein High's decade of dominance as DoDDS European Division 1 team champions by capturing the title in October in Heidelberg.
In tennis, freshman Ajdin Tahirovic's capture last month of the boys singles European champion title is the first time in at least 20 years for Patch High, according to Coach Walter Fritz.
Tahirovic, who described tennis as his life, said capturing the title as a freshman was an "amazing feeling." He said he has played the sport year-round for nine years and knew from the start that he would concentrate on tennis for the rest of his life.
"I feel very happy and proud about the history making," said Tahirovic, 14, who said he plans to go pro.
In Patch High's run to unseat defending team champion Ramstein in both boys and girls cross-country, the Panther boys emerged victorious and the Panther girls claimed second.
James Martin, boys cross-country team captain, said he was "super stoked" to win the championship in his senior year at Patch, remarking the win made his last season "the best it could ever be." Girls cross-country team captain Alexis Harrison, echoing Martin, described the season as the "best culmination possible of all my years of running - the best group of girls and the best placement in the Europeans."
Cross-country teammates Chris Brown and Thomas Trevino said their team's win was a testament to lots of hard work, training and goal-setting.
"... We had no idea we would end Ramstein's 10-year reign," said Brown, whose finish as the sixth man was the tiebreaker that dethroned Ramstein. "...this win goes to show that even though they glance at the top five runners from each team, the sixth and seventh runners are also important."
While Patch High's girls cross-country team finished second to Ramstein, sophomore Morgan Mahlock gave Patch High its second consecutive Division 1 girls' champion title. Patch sophomore Katherine Castro, 2009 champion, finished third overall this year.
"To be honest, when I crossed the finish line, I was exhausted," said Mahlock, 15. "It was a gradual incline the whole time. I was extremely happy when I realized I came in first."
Castro said this year she fell about eight seconds short of her winning time last year.
"Morgan was just the competition I needed," said Castro, 14. "Her winning was expected, but still a proud moment. She's a phenomenal runner."
Patch varsity volleyball coach Joshua McCall said the varsity team was seeded seventh out of eight teams this year and finished Europeans in the same position in tournament play earlier in November. Last year, the team finished last after being ranked first going into the tournament, McCall said.
"... We played great defense, but struggled to force teams into bad situations with strong offensive play," he said. "I hope that next year we will incorporate some core training to increase our power. I also hope to keep developing our younger players - we should have some talent coming up from [junior varsity]."
The varsity team finished the season 4-8 and the junior varsity team finished 11-1, according to McCall.