Refuse to lose.
That was the narrative, if not the motto, for Daniel Galvin and Harleigh Lewis in the just-completed Pacific high school sports season.
Galvin, a Yokota sophomore distance specialist, shattered two Pacific track and field records, breaking the 800-meter mark and rebreaking it at the Far East meet and also topping the 1,600-meter record over the course of a season in which his only loss came in a Far East relay event.
Lewis, a Kubasaki junior goalkeeper, was the backbone of a Dragons girls soccer team that began the season in turmoil, but quelled it, losing just once after March 30 and giving up just two regulation goals all season. That led Kubasaki to the Okinawa district title and its second Far East Division I title in four years.
For their efforts, Galvin and Lewis have been named Pacific high school spring sports season Athletes of the Quarter by Stars and Stripes.
“That’s amazing as a sophomore; there are plenty of other spring sports,” said Galvin’s coach, former Hong Kong Olympian Maggie Chan-Roper.
Talent, parental support and a “can’t-lose” attitude were the qualities that fueled Galvin’s record run this spring. His father, Dan, a mathematics teacher at Yokota, is constantly entering Daniel in local races against strong Japanese competition to ramp up his game.
More than that, “he hates to lose, maybe more than I do, and it drives him,” Chan-Roper said.
Galvin broke the 800 record April 19 in Tokyo, topping the old mark of 1 minute, 57.3 seconds, set in 2008, with a 1:56.89. He followed that April 26 at Misawa Air Base with a 4:23.42 mile, beating the old record of 4:25.88 set only a year ago.
At the Far East meet last month on his home Yokota track, Galvin beat his own 800 record with a 1:55.54, He just missed beating the 1,600 record, but beat the old 3,200 record by more than six seconds, clocking 9:57.35.
And it might be just the beginning, both Galvin and Chan-Roper said. “The future is bright,” she said, suggesting he could push 47 or 48 seconds in the 400, 1:52 in the 800 and under 4:20 in the mile.
Kubasaki looked far from a champion soccer team on March 22 after a 6-1 drubbing at the hands of Okinawa’s top-rated Japanese team Misato. Injuries pervaded in the ranks and coach Rob Loyd stepped down unexpectedly just two weeks into his first season at the helm.
Terry Chumley, who’d coached the Dragons to three D-I titles in the 2000s, returned to the helm and Kubasaki took off from there. A 1-0 loss to Kadena was the only blemish on the Dragons’ record the rest of the way. And with Lewis in the net, Kubasaki won the Okinawa district season series 2-1, then blanked five opponents in the D-I Tournament, four by 1-0 scores en route to the title.
Kubasaki met American School In Japan for the fourth straight year in the final, outshooting the Mustangs 3-1 in a penalty-kick shootout.
And the Dragons did it with a handful of key stars injured and out of the lineup, including second striker option Sydney Johnson (knee) and Lewis’ younger sister, Peyton (ankle), who had shored up the defense as sweeper. That responsibility fell to Harleigh Lewis and she responded, Chumley said.
“She was obviously the anchor of our defense, her ability to help get players the opportunity to succeed in the net and outside the box,” Chumley said. “She was a big part of our success. We’re happy to have her.”
-- Coach of the quarter: For stepping in at almost the mid-season point and molding the Dragons into a cohesive unit that climbed to the D-I mountaintop for the fourth time in school history, Chumley gets the nod here.
-- Team of the quarter: There were a handful of teams on a redemption mission during spring, perhaps none moreso than ASIJ baseball. Stunned in last year’s Far East D-I semifinal 1-0 by Kubasaki, the Mustangs stormed through the Kanto Plain season unbeaten and did likewise over the three-day Far East last month at Naval Air Facility Atsugi.
-- Programs of the quarter: Zama American practically ruled the Division II roost, sweeping every banner there was to be won in Far East track, coming in second in both D-II soccer tournaments and atoning for last year’s finals loss in Far East baseball. At the D-I level, ASIJ also came in second in the D-I girls soccer tournament, came in third in its first Far East softball appearance and won the girls and overall school banners at Far East track.
-- Most improved teams: Behind the 34 goals scored by Kayla Kinney, nicknamed “Lady Dash” for her speed and quickness on the field, Guam High girls soccer went 7-1-2 in the regular season, earned the league playoffs’ No. 2 seed and made it all the way to the finals before losing to three-time champion Southern. Then there was Robert D. Edgren girls soccer, which claimed its first Far East D-II Tournament title with a 3-1 win at home over Zama American last month. Kadena baseball secured its first Okinawa district title since 2005 and reached its third D-I final in five years.
-- Most improved program: Zama American. See Programs of the quarter.
-- Game of the quarter: Few rivalries have become as intense and pitched as Matthew C. Perry vs. Nile C. Kinnick in boys soccer. It took Gaku Lange banging in a goal in the 78th minute to settle things as the Samurai edged the Red Devils 1-0 on April 26 in the DODDS Japan boys tournament championship match at Yokota.
-- Play of the quarter: Kadena had it going on, bases loaded, one out in the second inning of the D-I baseball final. Kota Manning dropped an attempted suicide squeeze bunt, which ASIJ’s Novak fielded and tossed out of his glove to catcher Kenji Yoshii to erase the runner headed home. Yoshii then fired to first baseman Ryan Glasenapp to nail Manning for the out to end the threat and inning.
-- Performance of the quarter: Talk about a dream weekend for ASIJ’s Mizuki Shumsky at the plate. In a four-game stretch May 16-17, all wins, two each over Zama and Kinnick, the senior went 8-for-11 with two walks, a double, five home runs, four of them grand slams, 18 RBIs and two steals. ASIJ closed the regular season 22-0 and repeated as Kanto Plain champions.