Things learned, observed in Pacific high school spring sports season Week 14.0
Published: May 30, 2012
Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer tips his Brooklyn Dodgers cap to a pitcher named Brooklinn and a pair of seniors who put Zama American front and center in Far East track and field’s throwing events:
They’re similar in that they’re Far East High School Track and Field Meet discus champions. But seniors Roland Cote and Christian Garner took rather differing routes to the top of that heap.
Cote by far had more preparation, two seasons’ worth. He had competed in the previous two Far East meets, breaking his own meet record in the discus last week (40.78 meters) and throwing for a personal best 45 meters during the season.
Zama head coach Carman Wilson and throwing coach Paul Cote took a flyer on Garner, who had never done field events before this season. Yet almost immediately, she blossomed into competitive thrower, battling teammate Niyah Lewis and Christian Academy Japan’s Kendra Peterson for top honors week after week in what became one of the more intriguing stories of season.
Garner finished second to Peterson in the shot and to Lewis in the discus in the Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools league finals last month. Two weeks later in the Kanto Invitational, Garner outdistanced Lewis by 2 feet, 8 inches in the discus for her first gold in a major meet, while finishing six inches behind Peterson in the shot put.
It was on the Far East stage where Garner had her biggest impact. Throwing last, Garner uncorked a discus throw of 33.12, breaking the meet record by 4.02 meters, breaking the school record and outdistancing Peterson, who won the shot put, by 3.9 meters.
While a fierce competitor on the field, Garner is humble and reserved off it, at times hardly daring to believe how well she’s done when people tell her, “Do you know you just threw …” etc.
And you won’t find a bigger supporter, advocate and fan of Christian than her mother, Gabrielle Thomas.
Her name is pronounced but not spelled the conventional way. Then again, a freshman named Brooklinn endured a most unusual season, much like her team endured ups and downs, and at the end each could celebrate an improbable Far East championship in style.
The right-hander missed about six weeks of Zama’s season, hyperextending her elbow in physical education class, then suffering a lengthy illness. Meanwhile, her Zama American softball team endured a roller-coaster of a season, with coaches Parish and Veronica Jones having to adjust the lineup and position players frequently.
Once back in the lineup, and once Alexis Haddock moved from behind the plate to the infield right side and Silvia Dykstra behind the plate … everything clicked for the Trojans, who won all four games in the Far East Division II Tournament double-elimination playoffs, including Thursday’s 27-11 pounding of Osan American in the championship.
What a turnaround!
No doubt, a senior named Tyelor and a freshman named Sierra were the Apples of Matthew C. Perry Samurai soccer’s eyes.
Not only did Sierra and the girls end their seemingly endless litany of frustration, losing three of four Far East Division II soccer finals in the most heartbreaking of fashion … she and Tyelor each shared the joy of both the boys and girls sweeping the D-II title for the first time in school history. The two combined for 81 goals, including a Pacific single-season boys record 64 for Tyelor, and 23 assists.
Hey, Samurai boys: Can you say two stars?
Did I last month say something to the effect of Korea soccer is the best soccer in the region?
Don’t tell that to Perry’s boys and girls. Nor Christian Academy Japan’s boys. Nor Kubasaki’s girls. And all the teams around them , especially Nile C. Kinnick’s boys and girls and American School In Japan’s and Yokota’s girls, who enjoyed a marvelously, fiercely competitive season.
Kubasaki’s girls and CAJ’s boys enjoyed a Far East revival that saw them each win their fourth Division I tournament titles, Kubasaki’s first since 2007 and CAJ’s first since 2009.
Only once has a D-II school won both the boys and girls titles in the same week, Osan American in 2005.
Where in the world did Seoul American baseball come from?
Thought to be in total rebuild mode after losing seven of nine starters and their old coach, Bob Heckerl, having hung up his clipboard, Chris Horton and Chung Winchip took what they learned from the old regime, helped infuse their leadership into the new and proved that they could win.
It took Kadena leaving the door open a crack in the Division I Tournament final on Thursday. Horton tripled to start a rally from a 7-3 deficit. A hit batsman, two walks and three passed balls later, it was deadlocked 7-7. Then Horton singled in Winchip in the bottom of the eighth and it was all over.
To be good, you have to be good and lucky. Seoul American was equal parts both.
FYI, that banner won by the Seoul American baseball team gives Falcons Nation Far East Division I Tournament titles in every team sport except for track and field. No other D-I school can make that claim.
Just an amazing, gutsy performance by Stefani Loisel in Far East track. The versatile Guam High senior banged up her right foot – her landing foot – in qualifying for the 100 hurdles, her signature event.
Later that day, she broke meet records in the 200 and 300 hurdles and the next day busted the Pacific 300-H record, her own record, by .04 seconds.
Heard some argument that the 18 meet records, 1 North Pacific record and 3 Pacific records that fell during the Far East track meet aren’t that significant, since the meet is just three years old.
I wouldn’t say that to the folks who did the record breaking. They might give you an earful.
Kadena’s girls relay teams crushing the 400 and 1,600 Pacific records and Amanda Henderson of Seoul American curbstomping the 800, 1,500 and 3,000, each in meet record time, each beating ex-teammate Siarria Ingram’s marks and bettering her own North Pacific record in the 1,500 with a 4:56.45.
Val James of Kinnick did all that after taking three weeks off and not training at all due to a family emergency back stateside? Can you say amazing?
Okinawa softball is exactly where it needs to be after its first decade: Both teams competitive and capable of beating each other at any time. The way it should be.
From practically not having a season at all last year to running off with the Far East Baseball Division II Tournament title last week. What a poetic conclusion to the season. First baseball banner in Eagles Nation. That should look nice alongside the football and cross-country banners. :)