Published: April 25, 2010
Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer mulls the wonder of January weather in April and begins yet another whirlwind visit to Korea, Iwakuni and Tokyo in five days:
-- Once more, the weatherman hasn't gotten the message. Snow fell on Nile C. Kinnick's and Robert D. Edgren's soccer teams on Friday at Misawa Air Base. Rain again forced Matthew C. Perry to shorten the field for Friday's matches against E.J. King and Yokota. Somehow, they squeezed in three games Friday in the DODEA Japan girls softball tournament. A wet track forced Okinawa Activities Council officials to call off Friday's high jump and hurdles events. Lightning and thunder even forced Seoul Foreign to shorten its 5-1 win over Daegu American to 30-minute halves.
-- Last time: It is springtime.
-- How rare is it to see a dead heat in a distance-running event? India Adams of Kadena and Kubasaki's Abigail Wall pulled off the almost-unheard-of feat in Friday's 3,000, each clocking 12 minutes, 31 seconds.
-- "I've never seen this much rain in my whole coaching career," Perry boys coach Mark Lange said; wet stuff has affected every single weekend of play for the Samurai this season. For sure, he's getting a strong education in how to use a Squeegee on a soccer pitch.
-- "They're doing the best they can and it actually turned out well," Yokota girls coach Matt Whipple said.
-- Well, one coach enjoyed the white stuff at Misawa. "It was kind of fun playing soccer with the snowflakes," Kinnick boys coach Robert Tiffany said.
-- Coupled with Osan American's 2-1 loss Friday at Taejon Christian International, Seoul Foreign's girls captured their fifth Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference regular-season title in six years; the Crusaders thumped Daegu 6-0.
-- The weather cleared off and the track action heated up on Saturday. Big time. Especially in the Okinawa sprints.
-- OK, so the times were wind-aided. A.J. Watson still ran them, and wind-aided or not is within shouting distance of the Pacific record in the 100 and the 200.
-- Watson, a Kubasaki sophomore, was hand-timed in 10.88 in the 100 and 21.82 in the 200. The wind was at Watson's back most of the way, and hand timing generally is about .25 seconds behind the actual start. I'd say with another three weeks' work, Watson will challenge the Pacific standards of 10.55, set in 1988 by Yokota's Tim Gardner, and 21.4 set by Zama American's Kenny Elder in 1977.
-- "I didn't feel I was running full speed," Watson said, adding he thinks he's capable of "10.5 flat."
-- Kadena's 400-meter relay team has a chance to do some big things, also. Anchored by Thomas McDonald, the Panthers foursome ran 44.14; the Pacific record is 43.69. And keep in mind, half of that race was wind-hindered, with James Thompson running the second leg into the wind.
-- Hat's off to Al Garrido and the Nile C. Kinnick girls track and field team. The first DODEA team to win a Kanto Plain regular-season title in decades, the first to do so in school history and the first Kinnick team to go unbeaten. Garrido did the same thing months earlier with his girls volleyball team. And the Red Devils beat their chief rival, American School In Japan, 77.5-40.5.
-- Can you say, they're for real?
-- At Camp Zama, Miles Peterson of Christian Academy Japan set a school record with his 13.9-meter throw. His younger sister Kendra won the girls varsity shot put and their younger brother Eli won the middle-school shot. First time all three members of that very athletic family have pulled that feat. "Must be because their Grandpa Peterson was a high school state champion in Washington nearly 70 years ago. I'm sure he's smiling in heaven," said a proud mom, Hydi Peterson, in a Facebook e-mail to me.
-- This "Am I showing my age?" moment is brought to you by the 1982 Far East Girls Basketball Tournament in which I saw then-CAJ senior Hydi Buss PLAY for the Knights.
-- Nice to be a Seoul American Falcon swimmer, baseball or softball player last weekend. Each team captured its respective league title, the baseball and softball winning DODEA Korea for a second straight year. At Seoul Foreign's pool, John Graham set a meet record and the Falcons outdistanced Seoul International for the KAIAC swim title.
-- Want to know the definition of "rubber arm"? In Webster's, it says: "See Kailee Redulla." The Robert D. Edgren senior sure performed ironman duty in the DODEA Japan softball tournament, pitching every inning of every game, includling four straight to close the tournament. The Eagles dethroned two-time DODEA Japan champion Nile C. Kinnick before beating the team most thought to be the league title's inheritor, Zama American, twice in a two-game final.
-- Last time: It is springtime.
Published: April 25, 2010
He spent more than 15 years of his Army career as a recruiter. His current job certainly isn't much different.
As director of international admissions, Bob Broshous spends a good 12 weeks a year overseas, combing DODEA Europe and Pacific campuses looking for those athletes who might not otherwise get a look.
Broshous, 52, of Stockton, Ill., isn't a DODEA product himself, but he and his boss, each retired soldiers, became involved, Broshaus said, because "we know there are kids overseas and they don't get any attention."
Currently, three former DODEA Pacific athletes wear UD sports uniforms, Seoul American's Trinadai Stansel and Daegu American's Antonio Harris (football) and Jasmine Taylor of Kadena (track and field, basketball); Keily Sasano of Zama American (volleyball), Monica Hayes of Kadena and Detlef Loyd of Daegu (basketball) each played one season for Dubuque.
All told, some 90 former DODEA Pacific and DODEA Europe students attend Dubuque, which could very easily be renamed "University of DODDS."
At a Division III school such as Dubuque, enrollments are a fraction of those at larger Division I schools such as Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Southern California, which enroll tens of thousands of students. Lecture halls seat hundreds of students, most of the hands-on teaching is done by graduate assistants and athletes coming from smaller DODEA schools might not even get a look.
Smaller colleges mean smaller classrooms, Broshous said. Teaching is done by actual professors. And there's a better chance at cracking a sports team's starting lineup.
"It gives you a chance to test the waters," Broshous said. "Playing time and the love of the game. If you go to a big school, you don't even get a sniff" from coaches.
Broshous plans to attend this weekend's Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference Division I (large schools) Soccer Tournaments, boys at Seoul American, girls at Seoul Foreign.
Published: April 21, 2010
Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer puts the remnants of a bad cold behind him, and wonders if we in Japan and Korea can deliver a letter to the weatherman asking where spring is, already:
-- Snow in Tokyo on April 17????
-- You're kidding, right?
-- You MUST be kidding.
-- Not for 41 years has it snowed this late in the year.
-- Yet as four soccer teams and eight track teams prepared for competition Saturday, there it was, about an inch of snow over slush, which signalled the end of any hope of competing on that day. Two soccer matches and a track meet, snowed out in April. Who would have ever thought that?
-- Just puts the capper on a winter that saw the heaviest snowfall on record in early January in Seoul and more white stuff falling everywhere north of the 28th parallel.
-- At least they were able to play on Okinawa, despite high winds which made it feel downright chilly.
-- Say this for Tom McKinney -- he seems to pull soccer goalkeepers out of his hat. His latest netminder? Ja'Maal Dennis, who came to Kadena via the PCS Plane during the winter. I'd known his play only in principle; he can seriously beast back there.
-- And with two goals and an assist over the weekend, I think McKinney might have also found himself a new striker to complement Stanley Schrock in freshman Marty Maschio. Guy goes to the net totally unafraid.
-- Congratulations to Seoul Foreign, which swept both boys and girls titles in last weekend's Asia-Pacific Activities Conference soccer tournaments last weekend, the boys at home and the girls at Canadian Academy in Kobe, Japan. For coach Doug Farley and the boys, that's three titles in four years and four in seven.
-- But it might have come at a high cost -- eight players were out of the lineup, including four starters, for Wednesday's 1-1 draw with Yongsan International-Seoul. One of them, playmaker Jacob Lunden-Welden, might be done for the season. But all that's left, really, since the Crusaders have won the Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference regular-season title, is the KAIAC tournament next weekend at Seoul American. Maybe some of his boys will return yet.
Getting closer to the busiest and bestest Far East spring sports week ever!
Published: April 21, 2010
Hmmm ... who to start today against this team? ... Who to start tomorrow against that team? ... Such questions are hardly a bother for coach Randy Toor, whose Kubasaki Dragons (12-6) feature a stable of four ace pitching arms in whom Toor has total confidence, in any situation. Click here to read their story.
Published: April 16, 2010
Just FYI, those who choose to spam Web sites for advertising purposes in SportsBlog Nation ... you are wasting your time. Such posts will be taken down immediately and the username will be banned, no second chances. Consider yourselves warned. Now, back to the banter ...
Published: April 14, 2010
Imagine a track and field team making its debut in a major invitational meet 800 miles from home, places third in the boys and fifth in the girls standings and breaks four meet records and one Pacific record. Now, imagine that team doesnt have its own track. It doesnt have a discus or shot-put ring. Nor does it have a long- or high-jump pit. Heck, the team doesnt even have one measly hurdle in its inventory. Click here to read the Seoul American Falcons track team story.
Published: April 12, 2010
And since we tried it for track and field, why not baseball and girls softball, too? We'll limit it to the top five, since there'll only be nine teams at Far East baseball and 10 for girls softball.
Why so few and why does track and field get a full 10? I hear you cry. Well, that's simply because the Mike Petty and Kanto Invitational fields are that much larger and neither baseball nor softball gets that big of an in-season tournament (yet).
1, Kubasaki, Okinawa. Strong stable of arms, solid defensively and perhaps the best middle of the order in the region.
2, American School In Japan. Any team with players named Jardine on it will be solid; consistency, particularly pitching and defense, are the keys.
3, St. Mary's International, Japan. Not as experienced as they have been, but will be in the mix in the Kanto tournament next month.
4, Seoul American. Strong but young, still the strongest team in Korea, but must improve on their Spring Fling performance to contend at Far East.
5 (tie), Nile C. Kinnick and Yokota, Japan. If either team's pitching is spot on, it's a long afternoon for the opposition.
1, Kadena, Okinawa. Senior-laden group of veterans could make it an Okinawa sweep of the diamond tournaments.
2, Seoul American. Like their boys baseball counterparts, aiming for another DODEA Korea title, with solid strength up the middle in pitching and shortstop and second base.
3, Kubasaki, Okinawa. Has yet to solve the Kadena puzzle, but showed competitive edge earlier this month at Zama American jamboree.
4, Zama American, Japan. Built to win now and built to last with core of team ninth- and 10th-graders.
5, Nile C. Kinnick, Japan. Still the two-time DODEA Japan champions until somebody knocks them down, although Zama swept the Red Devils late last month.
Did I hit the bull's-eye? Or is all this full of hooey? Shout it out! Be true to your school, and remember, you've entered "THE" No-Hate Zone. :)
Published: April 12, 2010
Gonna try something new here. Since track and field has become a Far East tournament sport, gonna go out on a limb and rate the best teams out there, based on regular-season performances thus far and the Mike Petty Memorial Meet last weekend:
1, American School In Japan. Led by sprinter Ryan Christianson and distance men Soren Rasmussen and Sam Krauth, this is the team to beat. Guess Kanto Invitational will be the Mustangs' Far East.
2, Kadena, Okinawa. Once more showed great strength on the boys side, but the girls, particularly the relays, are coming on.
3, Nile C. Kinnick, Japan. Far better than what they showed at Petty; just wait until the Red Devils get their throwing and sprint components back. Then, we'll see something.
4, Kubasaki, Okinawa. Long known for its strong girls contingents, the boys feature some sprint power in A.J. Watson and distance in Jordon Roberts and Cristian Rodriguez; Jessica Powell and Abigail Wall head up the girls distance corps.
5, Seoul American. The Falcons could challenge to be at the top of this list if they had a track and equipment at Yongsan Garrison.
6, Christian Academy Japan. Jumper Shorai Ashida and thrower Miles Peterson and Anika Taylor are this team's signature athletes.
7, Morrison Christian Academy, Taiwan. Joel McKinlay. Grant Robinson. Megan and Olivia Dwight. Talented lot.
8, Faith Academy, Philippines. The name Hagberg stands out with this crew.
9, Zion Christian Academy, Okinawa. Jumper Arriana Guerra, runners Sarah Wilson and Teauna Baker and thrower Craig Hollins make this group competitive.
10 (entry), St. Mary's International/Seisen International/International School of the Sacred Heart, Japan. Combine their forces, particularly the multitalented Izzy Ballet of ISSH, and this unit could do special things.
Am I spot on? Way off base? Somewhere inbetween? Shout it out! Be true to your school, and remember, you've entered "THE" No-Hate Zone. :)
Published: April 12, 2010
You check, you check and you check again, and sometimes, a few things slip through the cracks. Following are the results of the girls discus and high jump from the Mike Petty Memorial Track and Field Meet last Saturday:
Discus1, Tamara Alvarez, Kubasaki, 27.18; 2, Anika Taylor, CAJ, 25.3; 3, Kendra Peterson, CAJ, 23.14; 4, Olivia Dwight, Morrison, 22.46; 5, Seiko Weaver, CAJ, 21.7; 6, Hannah Falk, Morrison, 21.68; 7, Emily Smith, Zion, 21.58.
High jump1, Arriana Guerra, Zion, 1.49; 2, Siara Stacey, Morrison, 1.44 (fewer attempts); 3, Micaela Sherman, Kubasaki, 1.44; 4, Milyka Dees, Kubasaki, 1.42; 5, Anika Taylor, CAJ, 1.39; 6, Kristy Taylor, Seoul American, 1.34 (fewer attempts); 7, Tayler Gomez, Kadena, 1.34.
Published: April 11, 2010
I really need to do my first ratings right about now, instead of just a week into the season. Anyway, here goes nothin':
1, Christian Academy Japan (1-0) They've only played once, but that was a monster win over a very good Nile C. Kinnick team.
2, Seoul Foreign (11-0). Ben Neumann and the Crusaders have sealed Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference regular-season title No. 8 in a row.
3, Kadena, Okinawa (3-2). Once more getting their fire testing from seasoned adult teams.
4, Matthew C. Perry, Japan (14-5-1). Bugawan, Apple and the Samurai are enjoying the finest season in school history.
5, Nile C. Kinnick, Japan (11-6). For a wrestler who was going to play baseball, Elijah Gamble is proving rather nifty on the pitch, too.
6, Seoul American (8-2-2). Falcons have gotten hot since Eugene So's return from injury.
7, Kubasaki, Okinawa (2-6-1). Like Kadena, getting most of its matches against adult teams.
8, Yongsan International-Seoul (5-3-1). Not going to defend its two Class A titles; will look toward KAIAC as its major goal.
9, Faith Academy, Philippines (season complete, 13-3-1). Back on the pitch getting ready for its first go at a Far East tournament.
10, Robert D. Edgren, Japan (9-5). Much firepower in the legs of Matt Linder and Rye Sperl.
1, American School In Japan (3-0). We'll see how the Mustangs do after their long spring break layoff.
2, Faith Academy, Philippines (8-0-1). One goal allowed in nine matches this season.
3, Kadena, Okinawa (4-2). Won first go-round with Kubasaki; Pressley sisters are proving just as good as advertised.
4, Kubasaki, Okinawa (8-1). Running like a well-oiled machine despite losses due to transfer and graduation; only blemish a 1-0 loss to Kadena.
5, Osan American, South Korea (9-0-3). Even with all its Class A titles to its credit, this may be the best team in Cougars history.
6, Seoul Foreign (8-1-1). Have stumbled since 8-0 start, but still a force to be reckoned with.
7, Nile C. Kinnnick, Japan (6-2-2). Meghan Pomeroy heating up with the goals, Red Devils turning it up.
8, Zama American (7-4-4). Back on track after uneven start; Rachel Walls, Taylor Russell finding the net, Taylor Cave with superb playmaking.
9, Taejon Christian International, South Korea (5-3-1). A bit of a slide, thanks to some heartbreaking defeats.
8, Daegu American, South Korea (3-1). Strong start; big test comes this weekend for Angie Robinet (6 goals), 10, Robert D. Edgren, Japan (5-5-3). Trying to get back on track after 3-1 start.
Did I leave out anybody? Somebody should be higher or lower than I have 'em? Shout it out! Be true to your school, and remember ... you've entered THE "No-Hate Zone." :)
Published: April 11, 2010
Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer continues rubbing aloe on his red-burnt nose from Saturday's Petty track and Spring Fling baseball sunburn ... hoping the traffic authority doesn't confiscate it for use as a stop light:
-- Those athletes at Petty weren't content to just nip records. They pulled out a couple of blocks of C-4, strapped them to the meet's -- and the Pacific's -- record book, attached some wiring and a detonator plug ... and KA-BOOM! ... That's an assault on the record book we've not seen since the second year of the 8-year-old Pacific track meet of record.
-- Try eight meet records shattered. One other tied. And one Pacific record to boot. Three each by Kadena, a usual record-breaking suspect, and Seoul American, making its debut as a high school entity; and one each by Zion Christian Academy and Seoul Foreign, the latter also making its debut.
-- Start with the boys high jump. Until that point, around 1 p.m., not one record had been broken. Well, Christian Academy Japan's Shorai Ashida and Kadena's Lotty Smith did their best to do just that. It was, indeed, a battle for the ages. Ashida edged Smith in a meet record-tying 1.96 meters to 1.93, and barely missed on three tries to beat the four-year-old Pacific record of 1.97.
-- Then ... the records started tumbling, like dominoes.
-- Seoul American's queen of speed, Kristy Taylor, repeated her 100-meter gold, this time in 12.76 seconds, .04 better than the six-year-old record.
-- Far East cross-country champion Siarria Ingram of Seoul American, with her teammate Amanda Henderson right on her heels, not only beat the mile record of 5:39 -- she crushed it, with a 5:24.28. Henderson was just .19 seconds behind. Ingram also beat the Pacific mark of 5:38.5 set 12 years ago.
-- Right on the heels of that, Kadena's Jacob Bishop avenged his defeat against Seoul American's Far East cross-country champion Thomas Kim, clocking a 4:37.34; that topped his old Zama American teammate Andrew Quallio by .16 seconds.
-- The 400 relays were next. Kadena in a clean sweep, the girls (52.38) beating the three-year-old mark by .26 seconds and the boys (45.13) by .05. Whose records did they beat? Why, Kadena's, of course.
-- Seoul Track Club then swept the 800 races in record time. Kim clocked a 2:02.07, .83 seconds better than the old standard. And that Janelle Jorgenson of Seoul Foreign! She competed in the 800 for the first time in Friday's qualifying and for the second time in Saturday's final. Her time? 2:22.32, 5.9 seconds better than Ingram's record time of the previous year.
-- Somehow, some way, they HAVE to make it to the Kanto Invitational. Who's with me? C'mon, Seoul! We NEED you there.
-- Lastly, there was Zion, with its speedy complement of runners, led by Sarah Wilson and Teauna Baker. They clipped the 1,600 relay mark, clocking a 4:24.14, .26 better than the six-year-old mark.
-- Folks, that 2004 meet was one for the ages. 2010 just may have topped it, in terms of record performance, simply because in 2004, the meet was in its second year.
-- And records which did not fall? Several, including the boys 100, 110 hurdles, 200 and 400, are ripe for the picking, perhaps even on the Pacificwide level. Prediction: A.J. Watson of Kubasaki will topple the 100 (10.55) and 200 (21.4) and J.T. Thompson will approach the 400 mark of 48.9 at least by next month's Kanto Invitational or Far East, if not at the Okinawa district championship. Watson did clock a 22.74 in the 100 qualifying, .04 seconds shy of the meet mark. Cory Serfoss of Nile C. Kinnick will come close in the 110 hurdles; sub-15 is not out of the conversation.
-- Predictions, part II: Either Ashida or Smith, maybe both, will top 2 meters in the high jump by the Kanto Invitational. Shannon Jackson of Kinnick will demolish the girls shot and approach the girls discus records. If we can keep Miles Peterson from scratching with those long legs of his, he can easily approach the 33-year-old shot mark. And he's not a bad hurdler, either.
-- You think Seoul Track Club, from which spawned Seoul's two track teams as well as Osan American's, wouldn't have at least made a charge for the top, perhaps challenge Kadena's boys and Kubasaki's girls for first place, maybe even overall, had it been permitted to compete as one unit?
-- Don't for a second think that was the Nile C. Kinnick team we'll see at Far East and the Kanto Invitational. The Red Devils were missing stud throwers David de los Santos, Adam Cason and Shannon Jackson as well as sprinters Chaun Lynn and Valerie James. Huge difference-makers, I tell ya, having seen them compete.
-- OK, OK, Kubasaki, now it can be told. The Dragons are the "team to beat" in Far East baseball. They have the pitching depth, defense and perhaps the best middle of the batting lineup in the region. Patrick "Duck" Duffy, P.J. Varner, Andrew Estes and Kaleb Robinson proved their point by sweeping all four of their games in the Spring Fling baseball tournament at Camp Foster. The signature game was Saturday's 10-4 win over defending Spring Fling champion St. Mary's International.
-- That said, it won't be a cakewalk May 17-20 at Camp Zama and Naval Air Facility Atsugi. Kadena proved it could compete by beating Seoul American, Korea's top team, 7-2. And even though Seoul American came away beaten in three of four games, they got a good gauge of what to expect at Far East and will undoubtedly redouble their efforts in practice. And they do have a good, if not experienced at the Far East level, pitching staff.
-- Unquestionably, the game of the tournament was Thursday's Kubasaki 4-2 win over Seoul American. You think that both sides showed up for that one with just a little motivation in their bellies? I've not felt that kind of intensity in a high school baseball game since the old Zama-Yokota rivalry days of the late 1980s.
-- Congratulations to Seoul Foreign's boys soccer team for capturing its eighth straight Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference regular-season title. Andrew Park (two goals) and the Crusaders sewed up that honor on Saturday with a 4-0 win over Taejon Christian International. Seoul Foreign now aims for top honors at its version of Far East, the Asia-Pacific Activities Conference tournament.
Published: April 9, 2010
Updated at 11:45 a.m. Friday.
Heavy rain overnight Thursday forced some changes in Kubasaki's Spring Fling Sports Festival schedule:
-- Mike Petty Track and Field: No opening ceremony. At 7 p.m., they'll run the 3,200-meter final, followed by preliminary/qualifying in the sprint and middle-distance events, 100, 100/110 hurdles, 200, 400 and possibly 800. On Saturday at 8:30 a.m., they'll begin with field events and run them until conclusion, followed by the running finals at around 11 a.m. Awards should be handed out around 1 or 2 p.m. The pre-Petty meet for junior varsity and middle-schoolers was washed out.
-- Baseball Friday at Chibana is a no-go. All games from here on out are at Field 9 at Camp Foster's Gunner's Fitness & Sports Complex. Seoul American and St. Mary's International play at 5 p.m. followed by American School In Japan vs. Kubasaki at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, it's Kadena vs. Seoul at 8:30 a.m., Kadena vs. ASIJ at 10:30, Kubasaki vs. St. Mary's at 12:30, home run derby at 2:30, ASIJ vs. Seoul at 3:30 and the post-tournament barbeque at 6 p.m. All Saturday times are approximate.
Published: April 8, 2010
From the "Yes, it can be done by a DODEA kid" file comes word from Hawai'i-Hilo that former Kadena standout girls soccer goalkeeper Helen Schrock has walked onto the university's soccer team and has earned a partial scholarship for the 2010 fall season.
"That Helen is something else when she puts her mind and spirit to it!" her father, the ever-effusive Steve Schrock, told me in an e-mail. Helen, he said, is planning on becoming a DODEA teacher and wants to coach soccer and volleyball in the future.
Stay tuned. I'm sure she'll sparkle at UH-Hilo. :)
Published: April 8, 2010
Thursday's interarea battle pitting Seoul American vs. Kubasaki had been highly anticipated by Pacific high school baseball observers everywhere. Surely, it highlighted Day 2 of the 2010 Kubasaki Spring Fling Sports Festival.
And Round 1 of what many are saying could be "the" Far East Baseball Tournament championship pairing went to Kubasaki, thanks to the arm of senior P.J. Varner and the bat of senior Mateo Sanchez.
Varner struck out a career-high 15 and survived a shaky seventh, leaving the bases loaded with that 15th strikeout, while Sanchez homered and drove in three runs as the Dragons edged the Falcons 4-2. RBI hits by Nathan Simpson and Billy Harrah cut a 4-0 deficit in half in the seventh inning.
"We felt we had something to prove to the supposed best team in the Pacific," Varner said.
While Dragons coach Randy Toor didn't go quite that far, he did say it was nice to play another DODEA school "besides Kadena. Seoul is a quality program, they have good pitching; they kept our hitters off balance. P.J. did a great job on the mound."
The game marked the end of a long, tiring day for the Falcons, who traveled 13 hours from school to Inchon Airport to Kansai International Airport (four-hour layover) to Naha Airport to a pre-game meal at Camp Foster's "The Spot" to the ballfield. "I'm proud of them," coach Bob Heckerl said.
Rain is forecast for Friday morning, but hopefully it won't affect the last two days of play.
Published: April 8, 2010
Some information on what was discussed at last week's Far East Activities Council meeting on Okinawa are starting to trickle out. Understand that most of the discussed matter still has not gotten final approval from the new DODEA Pacific director Diana Ohman, but here are some of the the things we have found out:
Baseball: Better bring a stable of pitchers. Each pitcher on each team will be limited to 14 innings over the four-day Far East Tournament May 17-20 at Zama American in Japan. If a pitcher goes seven innings or less in a day, they must wait one day to pitch again. If you pitch more than seven innings, you must wait two days. That's to prevent teams from bringing a "college-level arm" and riding that horse until he collapses.
Track and field: Gets a bit tricky figuring out who qualifies for events in the Far East meet, May 24-25 at Okinawa's Kubasaki High School. The short answer: Best 10 DODEA Pacific times and distances as posted on http://www.athletic.net qualify for the meet, but only two athletes per school per event qualify. That is to say, some students could be left home who have a better qualifying time/distance than another athlete if the first athlete's school already qualified two. ... For relays, the six schools with the best six times qualify, maximim one relay per school. Athletes may participate in no more than four events. If one qualifies for more than four, the coach must notify DODEA FEAC chair Don Hobbs which events they'll choose ... Academic eligibility for Far East track will be checked on May 4, three weeks before Far East.
The track format for this year's Far East is for this year only. Tweaks and adjustments will be made with specific respect to qualifying during and after the meet. Time to prepare for this year's Far East was "short," DODEA Pacific spokesman Charly Hoff said. "We had to do something. ... It's a beginning."
2010-11 Far East Activities Calendar: About 80-percent set. Pending the schedule's approval, a couple of things will change from years' past -- Some events will stay in place permanently, instead of being rotated every two years. And boys and girls will play their Far East tournaments together in basketball and soccer, the Class A basketball at Daegu American and the Class AA basketball on Guam. They're even looking into putting all four soccer tournaments on Okinawa. Here is the draft schedule, and again, this is pending Diana Ohman's approval:
-- Class A football championship: Nov. 6, DODEA Japan champion hosting.
-- Class AA football playoffs: Nov. 8 and 15 (firm dates to be determined), Okinawa.
-- Cross country: Nov. 8-9, Zama American, Japan.
-- Tennis: Nov. 8-10, Kadena, Okinawa.
-- Class A volleyball: Nov. 8-12, Robert D. Edgren, Japan.
-- Class AA volleyball: Nov. 8-13, Seoul American.
-- Wrestling: Feb. 14-17, Osan American, South Korea (staged at Camp Humphreys).
-- Class A basketball (boys and girls): Feb. 21-25, Daegu American, South Korea.
-- Class AA basketball (boys and girls): Feb. 21-26, Guam High (staged at Andersen Air Force Base and other sites).
-- Baseball: May 16-19, Zama American (staged also at Naval Air Facility Atsugi).
-- Softball: May 16-19, Kadena.
-- Class A soccer (boys), May 16-19, Matthew C. Perry, Japan.
-- Class A soccer (girls), May 16-19, Daegu American (staged also at Camp Walker).
-- Class AA soccer (boys and girls), May 16-20, Kubasaki, Okinawa.
International school participation at Far East tennis, wrestling, cross country, baseball, softball and track: Also 80-percent set. The concensus at the FEAC meeting, Hobbs said, is that DODEA wants them to return. Again, it's awaiting approval from the director, but "it looks favorable," Hobbs said. The door closed on International schools participating in those individual sports in September 2004.
Final approval should hopefully come in a week or so. Full coverage in the print and online editions forthcoming.
Published: April 8, 2010
They're called the "Fab Freshmen" of Zama, eight players, five of whom start, who have given new life to the Zama American Trojans girls softball team. Click here to find out their story and just how far they think they can take their good start.
Published: April 7, 2010
Annual predictions of which Mike Petty Memorial Track and Field Meet records may fall later this week. Only spotlighting events where I figure a record breaker stands a chance. This is all assuming good weather (rain in Friday's forecast, field events may be moved to Saturday) and a dry track:
-- Boys high jump, 1.96 meters (6 feet, 5 inches): Gone. Shorai Ashida of Christian Academy Japan and Kadena's Lotty Smith are already in the neighbourhood, Ashida tying the 17-year-old Kanto Plain mark last week at Yokota.
-- Boys 110 high hurdles, 15.47 seconds: Gone. Cory Serfoss of Nile C. Kinnick has already topped that this season, 15.38 in that same meet.
-- Boys 100, 11.18 seconds: Gone. Kubasaki's A.J. Watson was one-tenth of a second faster last week at Mike Petty Stadium.
-- Boys 200, 22.7 seconds: Gone. There's that Watson guy again, running a 22.46 last week.
-- Boys 400 relay, 45.18 seconds: Gone. Kubasaki and Kadena have each run better this season.
-- Girls 400 relay, 52.64 seconds: Maybe. Kadena came within .35 seconds last week.
-- Boys 800, 2 minutes, 2.9 seconds: Gone. Thomas Kim of Seoul American will roast that for supper; don't be surprised if he pushes 1:57.
-- Girls 800, 2:28.22: Gone. Siarria Ingram should easily erase her own record.
Did I miss one? Anyone? Shout it out! Speak up, name, school, event and what you think they'll do.
Published: April 4, 2010
Imagine you're Shannon Jackson, Nile C. Kinnick's super junior multi-talented athlete. Next, imagine you're Jackson picking up a shot for the first time. Then, from a standing position, you throw it 9.23 meters, breaking the school record. Click here to read about Jackson and Kinnick's throwing stable.
Published: April 4, 2010
Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer marvels at the abounding pretty little cherry blossoms all over the Kan-to and rushes headlong toward a track meet so big, it's known by one name:
-- See what happens when Kubasaki's girls softball team plays somebody other than Kadena, and plays somewhere other than Okinawa? The gloves and bats come alive (Vanessa Ellis 6-for-12, 2 home runs, 10 RBIs leading the way) and the Dragons go a robust 3-1 at the Zama Invitational weekend jamboree. Just the dose of confidence needed in Dragons softball nation. Now, they know they can win.
-- I don't think any player or coach on either side would say it out loud, but it had to be planted somewhere in the back of their minds: Kadena beats Kubasaki regularly simply because ... well, Kadena's won all seven island championships and Kubasaki hasn't beaten the Panthers in its last eight tries.
-- The four-team, two-day event held a little something for everybody involved, starting with Kadena's 5-4 Friday loss to two-time DODEA Japan champion Nile C. Kinnick. In so doing, the Red Devils avenged their defeat against the Panthers in last year's DODEA Japan tournament, and gave Kadena a good wakeup moment. "The girls know if they don't bring their A game, they can be beat," coach Jesse Costa said.
-- Kinnick had been unbeaten entering last week before dropping a DODEA Japan twin bill at Zama, then going 1-3 in the Zama Invitational. "I think we proved ... we can beat anybody, but it's going to take a lot to beat everybody," coach Danel MacWhyte said. He referenced next month's Far East tournament at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, for which the Zama jamboree served as a tune-up.
-- As for host Zama, with its youthful roster (eight freshmen, five of whom start), it was their taste of fire-testing, which should prove invaluable as at least half of those freshmen are due to stay at Zama until they graduate (see more in Thursday's Home Team page).
-- Friday's games were played at MacArthur and King Fields near Rambler Park on Naval Air Facility Atsugi, then Saturday's took place at Field 2 of the Yano Fitness & Sports Complex to coincide with Camp Zama's annual Cherry Blossom Festival. The trees held that feel of an early-spring snowfall with all the sakura in bloom. But watching the softball with a middle-school band playing across the street on the youth soccer field had sort of a Japan Pro Baseball feel to it (those who've gone to an NPB game know what I'm talking about).
-- Over in Korea, the team that everybody wanted to see, Seoul American, continues to roll, sweeping a third straight weekend twin bill over Daegu American (12-8) and Osan American (26-0). The four-run win over Daegu was as close as an opponent has come to beating the Falcons, who played their bench for the majority of the contest to give them playing time to prepare for Far East.
-- Speaking of Daegu, judging from the photos on Facebook, I'm guessing the Warriors girls soccer team made some new friends over the weekend. On Friday, they were to play at Yongsan International-Seoul, but the Guardians lost most of their lineup to a class trip that afternoon; had the game been played two hours earlier, that would not have happened. As it was, Daegu coach Ed Thompson lent several of his players to YIS-Seoul to give them a complete side, then they scrimmaged. And posed for quite a few photos afterward.
-- Matthew C. Perry striker Andre Bugawan, who had just 14 goals last season, continues to pile up goals at a rapid rate -- a region-leading 23 as the Samurai took fifth place in the Osaka International Futsal Tournament over the weekend (Nile C. Kinnick took seventh). For Samurai coach Mark Lange, Bugawan has already topped by five goals the highest scorer Lange has ever had in his years of coaching.
-- And give Kinnick and Perry the James Brown Award for the hardest-working soccer teams in the Pacific. Kinnick rode all night Thursday on a bus, played Friday at Perry, then the two teams boarded a bus and drove six hours to Osaka for Saturday's Futsal Tournament. After that, Kinnick and Perry each boarded another bus for home. "We did a lot to play soccer over the weekend, no question about it," Lange said.
-- You think Kinnick's Shannon Jackson, who tossed the shot a Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools-record 33 feet on Saturday at Yokota isn't going to play a game of "break my own record" the rest of the track and field season? She beat the 20-year-old mark of 10.05 meters set by Christian Academy Japan's Lark Amos by one-hundredth of a meter.
-- That high-jump record might also be dead-on-arrival at this coming weekend's Mike Petty Memorial Meet. CAJ's Shorai Ashida matched the 17-year-old Kanto record at 1.95 meters, or 6 feet, 4 1/2 inches. That's one inch shy of the Pacific mark set five years ago by Kadena's Marquis Newton. I seriously believe that 2 meters is possible at some point this season, perhaps at next month's Kanto Invitational. The Ashida vs. Kadena's Lotty Smith high-jump battle, both at Petty and Kanto, should be one for the ages.
-- Also on the endangered list: A.J. Watson of Kubasaki is taking dead aim at the 100 and 200 records; he ran 11.08 (the 100 record is 10.55) and 22.46 (the 200 mark is 21.4), each a Pacific season best. Cory Serfoss of Kinnick will likely take a run at some hurdles marks. And depending on Saturday's weather, the boys 400 relay and 400 record might also be in trouble (predictions later this week).
-- Though the boys shot put record is likely well out of reach, there is a new sheriff of the event in town: CAJ's Miles Peterson, in his first competition of the season (he was on senior trip last month), put the shot 13 meters. Easily a region best for the season.
-- Ryan Christianson swept the sprints. Soren Rasmussen and Sam Krauth dominated the distance events. Kinnick might have something to say about it, but I'm going out on a limb right now: American School In Japan will win the Kanto boys track team title this season.
-- Enjoyable travel moment of the week: For a guy who still lives with analog cassette tapes and boxes filled with vinyl albums, I continue to edge into the 21st century. Those PASMO commuter IC cards sure make life easier while using the Tokyo metro and other public train lines. Registration is simple and takes a couple of minutes, can be done in English and all you do is plunk down a 500-yen deposit, then "charge" up the card with as much yen as you desire (or can afford). No hassle with buying tickets at every stop. And they can be used on municipal or private train lines, the Tokyo Monorail, on buses; you can even buy a quick Coca-Cola with the card.
Five days until Petty!