Far East tournaments: Do international schools belong?

Asked in an interview Friday with Stars and Stripes if international schools would continue to be invited to Far East tournaments as they have since their inception in 1949, DODDS Pacific athletics coordinator Don Hobbs replied: “For the time being.”

That topic was the subject of a debate overheard during the Far East tennis tournament earlier this month at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, where American School In Japan, an independent school in Tokyo’s western suburbs, won the boys team, singles and doubles and mixed doubles titles and the overall school banner with arguably one of the Mustangs’ best boys lineups ever.

Two Division II coaches engaged in a lively conversation about whether Far East tournaments should be solely the province of DODDS Pacific schools – as tennis, cross-country and wrestling were from 2004-10, when DODDS only permitted international schools to play in team-sport tournaments.

One coach feels that DODDS Pacific players should be the ones crowned champions of DODDS Pacific champions, since the tournaments are DODDS Pacific’s equivalent of state-championship events.

The other coach countered that the Pacific is a unique situation, and that to be the best, players have to beat the best, one of several reasons DODDS reopened Far East tournaments in individual disciplines to international schools starting with wrestling in February 2010.

In addition to ASIJ, Yongsan International School-Seoul, a missionary school playing in the Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference Blue Division with four DODDS schools, captured the Far East tennis Division II overall school banner.

And in the Far East Girls Division I Volleyball Tournament, ASIJ made it a championship three-peat behind four-time All-Tournament senior Liz Thornton and Most Valuable Player Mia Weinland.

A few DODDS Pacific teams and players had successful Far East fall sports tournaments. Daegu’s girls volleyball team held off Zama American in four sets for the Far East D-II girls volleyball banner, the fourth in school history. Kadena’s Kristin and Alex Howard captured the girls doubles tennis gold, and Chloe Gadsen of Guam High made it three straight girls singles championships.

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Ornauer on AFN


Stars and Stripes reporter Dave Ornauer talks about the Pacific sports scene on AFN Radio. (Click on right arrow to play file.)


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