Published: May 29, 2011
Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer continues the decompression from Pacific high school sports process and begins anew the process of getting to know military sports folk again:
-- Just 46 feet separate home plate from the pitcher’s mound in slowpitch softball. That truly leaves pitchers in the line of fire. Many have been hit by batted balls; indeed, some have died while playing the game.
-- Since 2001, the Amateur Softball Association, whose rules govern most Pacific military softball tournaments, has moved to ban some bats that don’t meet its standards, that is to say create too much danger to pitchers from the batted softball. ASA’s most current banned bat list dated May 26 contains 25 illegal bats. Most ASA –sponsored tournaments now mandate that tournament organizers provide bats for all teams, as is done at the All-Armed Forces and ASA national championship level. And some tournaments use restricted-flight balls, the ones that feel like you’re hitting a sock after two or three contacts with the bat.
-- Some pitchers themselves have taken matters into their own hands. At the 21st Pacificwide Open Tournament at Yongsan Garrison, three pitchers wear what most fastpitch and baseball catchers wear – catchers’ masks, to prevent facial injuries and possible concussions.
-- "I have a pretty face," said Misawa Jets pitcher Kiel Kauffeld, only half-jokingly. With the Pac-wide using non-restricted flight balls that are as hard as diamonds, "you don’t have a whole lot of time to react" to a batted ball, said the 26-year-old staff sergeant from Hawley, Pa.
-- Ben Whitehead of the Yokota Warriors is another masked mound warrior. "It’s for personal protection," said the 45-year-old tech sergeant from Cincinnati. "It adds more confidence for me to get in front of the ball and knock it down. Protect yourself."
-- "You can take shots off the body all you want. The face doesn’t take it as well," added Alexander Miller of host Yongsan Garrison, a 30-year-old staff sergeant from Fayetteville, N.C.
-- On Thursday, Katie Darby was on the mound when her Seoul American Falcons stunned defending champion Kadena for the first Far East High School Girls Softball Tournament title in school history. Darby earned MVP honors in the fastpitch event.
-- So, what did she do to celebrate? Well, partly. Less than 24 hours after first baseman Jenna Jackson squeezed the final out at Kadena Air Base’s Four Diamonds, Darby was in the dugout wearing the Yongsan Garrison uniform, one of two Falcons playing for the Lady Rebels in the 21st Pac-wide.
--It does prove challenging, Darby said, adapting to the slower speed of the slowpitch game. "Batting, definitely," she said. "You try not to bat too early, popping up or fouling out." Her Rebels went 3-1 in pool play and are still alive in the knockout bracket of the double-elimination tournament, standing five wins away from the title.
-- A year ago, the 20th Pac-wide schedule was marred by 38 forfeits in both the men’s and women’s divisions. As a way to avert such problems in the future, the tournaments’ organizers instituted a company-level division for men, which allowed eight unit teams to play on their level while the 16 open- and post-level teams, could beat up on each other without unit-level teams simply giving up and not showing up for a schedule game against the "wolves."
-- "It’s good. I like it," said longtime International Guzzlers coach Tom Costello.
-- It seemed a formality that the two powerhouse, All-Armed Forces veteran-laden open teams, the Scrapalators and defending champion American Legion, would reach Monday’s best-of-three final. "But once you get past them, everything’s equal," Costello said. "With the club division, this is a much tougher tournament. There’s more parity. In the open divisions, anybody can beat anybody."
-- Normally, it’s the birthday boy who gets the gifts. On Sunday, while celebrating his 46th birthday, Tommy May of tournament sponsor Drash, a military clothier, spent the day giving as well.
-- Drash contributed $30,000, May said, to the tournament, paying for shirts and ballcaps to the unit-level players and paid half those teams’ entry fees, provided the bats for the pre-tournament home run derby, balls, trophies, the post-tournament barbeque and the pre-tournament social. "A give back to the military" for Memorial Day weekend, May called it.
Published: May 28, 2011
Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer grimly watches the color radar, tracking a typhoon southwest of Okinawa that seems far more fizzle than sizzle, while tracking the true start to the summer interservice sports season from afar:
-- Um … make that ALL spring sports in which Seoul American showed its competitive edge. Certainly it was not confined to soccer. The Falcon blue-and-white flag flew, loudly and proudly, on the fields and tracks – and in the rain – at Okinawa and Camp Walker, South Korea.
-- Let’s set the table with a surprising appetizer: Falcons baseball, with its stable of arms, Colton Heckerl, Casey Donovan, Harold Martin and Greg Morris, coming within a Bessie Noll game-breaking single away from upsetting eventual champion American School In Japan at rain-drenched Kelly Field on Camp Walker. Seoul American placed third there, downing Guam High in the bronze-medal game.
-- Next, a giant near-miss the size of any ol’ Caesar salad. Take a girls track team that had just one regular-season meet under its belt. And that meet was limited to running events; there were no hurdle, throwing or jumping events. And the team has no way of practicing those events; it possesses just one hurdle and has no jump or throw pits.
-- Incredibly, the Falcons, behind the last two Far East cross-country girls champions Amanda Henderson (3,200) and Siarria Ingram (800, 1,500), placed second in the Far East team standings behind eventual boys, girls and overall champion Kadena.
-- There was a bit of heartburn from the Falcons camp over how Kadena girls got that one-point separation over Seoul American in the final team standings. With the teams tied 90-90 entering the girls long jump, Kadena’s Kiana Caines suffered a strained knee when she made her first attempt, was sent to the hospital and the competition, which had begun in the rain, was suspended. It turned out, the jump was never recorded – an administrative error – and Caines, who had not scratched out of the event, came back the next day and made a jump of 1.4 meters, giving her eighth place and one team point, which gave Kadena 91 points and Seoul American 90.
-- Hey, if I’ve had literally no jumping, throwing and hurdling practice and half a meet of preparation for Far East and my team takes second, I’ll take it. That had to exceed the Falcons’ wildest expectations.
-- Now comes the main course, an upset on the grandest of scales. It seemed a formality, really, the crowning of Kadena as Far East softball tournament champions for a second straight year. The Panthers had the pitching, including reigning Far East Most Valuable Player Desirae Seals, junior transfer Lauren Youngs and sophomore mighty-mite Kelly Kaneshiro, they had the batting, they had fielding and they were on home turf.
-- Surely, Seoul American’s girls would be no match for this juggernaut.
-- Um … huh?
-- The Falcons BEAT the Panthers?
-- In eight innings?
-- And had taken a 10-1 lead before the Panthers found themselves and tied the game in their last at-bat in the bottom of the seventh?
-- Oh, behave!
-- It was the stuff of dreams for this Falcons team that had just two seniors, pitchers Leilani Shak – who was hurt the last two days – and new MVP Katie Darby, and behind them a collection of inexperienced, mostly sophomores and freshmen, many of whom were trying the game for the first time.
-- I don’t know where this will rank on my list of top 10 games I’ve seen in 31 years at Stripes, but I do know it made that top 10.
-- Now, if Seoul American, whose boys won the Division I soccer tournament with the girls placing third, owned the nine-day Far East spring sports championship period, Kadena ruled Week 2, with its runner-up finishes in baseball and softball and its title sweep in track and field. More on their performances later.
-- How about those Falcons coaches? Steve Boyd, who helmed the Falcons boys soccer team, earned his sixth Far East title and became just the first in Pacific history to win titles in three sports (cross country, basketball and soccer) in three different seasons. He was joined just six days later by retiring Julian Harden, who has two football, three wrestling and now one softball title to his credit.
-- It wasn’t just Falcons softball that made Asiana Flight 171 from Naha to Inchon on Friday a joyous one.
-- That Osan American team that finished ninth at Far East last year? Try third place this time, shocking a Guam High team many rated No. 2 in the tournament behind Kadena 8-5 in the bronze-medal game.
-- That tells me that girls softball in Korea is starting to become competitive again, as it was in the days when tiny Pusan American and then-Taegu American Schools kept rising up and knocking down the big, bad Falcons of Yongsan. With a large number of Cougars returning, it should make the 2012 season a good one.
-- Hey, can there be any doubt now that Bessie Noll is the real deal? The sophomore garnered Best Offensive Player honors and helped spark ASIJ’s offense from the ninth spot in the lineup, and provided clutch pitching to help the Mustangs, the perennial Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools baseball power, to a championship in its first year being invited to Far East.
-- You know Kadena was another school that had to feel good about its Far East baseball finish. Having lived in Kubasaki’s giant shadow for the last six years, the Panthers’ knowing that they finished second, vanquished 11-9 in the rain-drenched final, while Kubasaki didn’t place had to be a feather in their caps.
-- And the Panthers baseball team has much to look forward to, building around their Fabulous Freshmen, Cody Prince, Dominic Shea and Josh Arvizu. With Kubasaki’s boys losing just three seniors, it should make island baseball strong next season as well.
-- Darby should make a fine addition to the Rainbow Warriors of the University of Hawai’i, where she’ll try to catch on as a walk-on next spring.
-- While Seoul American’s softball team made all the right moves at the right times (save for the fifth and sixth innings when Kadena rallied from the 10-1 deficit), the Panthers’ defense came up well short of its performance through the rest of the tournament. Never before had I seen a Panthers team make that many errors (10). No team can win when its defense fails in that manner.
-- It’s the first time Kadena failed to win at any girls softball competition it entered. The Panthers are reigning nine-time island champions and had won the DODDS Japan tournament title in 2009, the championship in the Zama American invitational and Far East in 2010 before Thursday’s Far East final.
-- Seals, who went 5-for-5 and scored the tying run in the bottom of the seventh, and coach Jesse Costa leave the Panthers program after this season, Seals for North Carolina and Costa for Italy. Still, there should be plenty of reason for optimism in the program with Youngs and Kaneshiro returning to form the core of the pitching staff.
-- Speaking of the outgoing, if this indeed was it for coach Sergio Mendoza, his Panthers’ sweeping the entire title board in Far East track was a sweet way to go out.
-- The crowning achievement? Senior Lotty Smith becoming the first Pacific athlete to high jump 2 meters in Wednesday’s rain-day wrapup of the Far East meet.
-- Smith had been trying, along with Christian Academy Japan’s Shorai Ashida in 2009 and ’10 and Kubasaki’s Conor MacMannis this season, to breach that seemingly unbreachable 2-meter mark, or 6-feet, 7-inches. Smith and MacMannis each leaped 1.98 meters, with MacMannis winning the competition with fewer attempts during April’s Oki Relays, but each failed in three tries at 2 meters.
-- MacMannis managed 1.82 in Wednesday’s Far East finals. And that left Smith to compete with the measuring tape. Not coincidentally, each succeeding height he scaled on at least his second try, until finally the bar was placed 2.0066 meters above ground.
-- Smith succeeded on his third try at 2.0066, after which he broke into a huge smile and struggled to find words to describe his feelings. As did Mendoza, who at times seemed near tears of pride for his senior star.
-- And as a bonus, Smith won the long jump as well.
-- Kubasaki’s retiring coach Charles Burns got himself a nice going-away present as well, as his Dragons boys 400-meter relay team clocked a 44.15 during qualifying, one of six meet records broken.
-- Another one surpassing her own Far East record was Kubasaki senior Vallen Alleyne, who went unbeaten through the Okinawa Activities Council season and rewrote the Far East discus record.
-- A tip of the hat to girls hurdlers Stefani Loisel of Guam High and Sung Ji Kim of Christian Academy Japan, who rewrote the 100 and 300 hurdles Far East records.
-- And to Fred Gustafsson of Yokota, who monopolized the boys hurdles.
-- Might it be possible that there’s some magic switch at the far curve at Mike Petty Stadium, right near the shot-put pit, that makes all the switches in Kadena’s Tomas Sanchez’s head go on? I could almost set my watch to it in the 800, when he trailed Jared Johnson of Christian Academy Japan. I watched as he approached the curve and said, half out loud, "now." And sure enough, Sanchez kicked toward the finish, beating Johnson by two seconds.
-- Nice way for Jacob Bishop of Kadena to exit as well. Long having fought the shadows of Zama American’s Andrew Quallio and Kevin Blackburn and Seoul American’s Thomas Kim, Bishop captured the 1,500 in his next-to-last individual race.
-- The Pacific’s kings and queens of speed, Yokota’s Kelsey Scott and Preston Brooks, who swept the 100 and 200, are each underclassmen. You can expect to hear a lot from them next year when Far East track and field moves to Yokota, where it will likely be based for some time to come.
-- Certainly, each would have preferred to win their races against Kubasaki’s absent stars, A.J. Watson, the Pacific 100- and 200-meter record holder who transferred to the States on May 21, and Bianca Johnson, who was ruled not eligible to compete. Still, I think Scott and Brooks will happily enjoy their time as gold medalists and the "Pacific’s fastest high school humans."
-- For years, Gabriel Ahner lived in the shadow of his more famous and decorated brother, Aaron, the three-time All-Far East soccer player and 215-pound Far East wrestling champion. On Tuesday, Gabe stepped out of that shadow by winning the shot put in meet-record fashion, tossing a 13.11, .1 meter ahead of last year’s champion and record holder David de los Santos of Nile C. Kinnick.
-- Looking ahead to the last week of May next year, it’s going to be interesting to see how DODDS Pacific is able to conduct all seven spring sports Far East tournaments in one week, track at Yokota, Division II boys soccer at Osan American and girls soccer at Matthew C. Perry, baseball presumably back at Zama American, softball remaining at Kadena and girls and boys Division I soccer at Kadena and Kubasaki.
-- That’s what the tentative schedule for next school year says. The reason for compacted schedule: Next year’s Advanced Placement testing period begins on May 8. The two-week block, in which most sports are blacked out and no long-haul trips are permitted in Japan, must begin the first full week of May; next year, May 1 falls on a Monday.
Published: May 28, 2011
Yokota had hoped Saturday's U.S. Forces Japan-American Football League opener would be a continued celebration of the Warriors' Torii Bowl championship last July. Instead, Misawa gave the Warriors the Rice treatment. Andre Rice threw for a touchdown and ran for another and the Jets rallied from a 12-0 deficit to upend the Warriors 18-12 at Yokota's Bonk Field. Saturday's south opener pitting Kadena vs. Foster at Kubasaki High School, postponed due to Typhoon Songda.
Published: May 28, 2011
Make that three Seoul American student-athletes who’ve earned a full or partial athletic scholarship for school year 2011-12 in the States.
Colton Heckerl, a senior right-hander, will play baseball for Menlo College, an NAIA school in Atherton, Calif. According to his father, Falcons coach Bob Heckerl, Colton will receive baseball scholarship money as well as some merit scholarships; he didn’t elaborate on how much.
Menlo plays in the NAIA West/Cascade Conference and plays roughly a 50-game schedule against other NAIA programs in California, and sometimes against NCAA Division II or Division I schools.
The Oaks finished with a school-best 32-16 record this season and hosted the NAIA West Regional, falling a couple of games short of qualifying for the NAIA World Series.
"I’m happy that he’ll get to develop under a great coaching staff and within the culture of California baseball," the elder Heckerl said in an e-mail to Stripes.
Heckerl pitched 50 innings this season, allowing 22 hits and 29 walks while striking out 70 batters, a 2.08 earned-run average, 1.01 baserunners allowed per inning and an opposing batting average of .146.
Heckerl joins seven other Pacific high school athletes who’ve signed LOIs to play on full or partial scholarship next school year:
-- Bre’Onna Ray, girls soccer, Matthew C. Perry, Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Ariz.
-- Reid Henderson, golf, Kadena, Division III Maryville (Tenn.) College.
-- Jordan Elliott, girls basketball, Seoul American, Division I U.S. Military Academy, N.Y.
-- Destinee Harrison, girls volleyball, Seoul American, Division I Howard, Washington.
-- Angie Robinet, girls soccer, Daegu American, NAIA Point Park (Pa.) College.
-- Kristina Bergman, girls volleyball, Daegu American, Division II Central Oklahoma.
-- David Bailey, boys soccer, Nile C. Kinnick, Division II Colorado Christian.
And they’ll be joined next week by Kubasaki senior basketball center Kentrell Key, who has signed a scholarship offer from Division II Elizabeth City (N.C.) University.
Published: May 27, 2011
Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer immediately shifts from high school spring sports to interservice softball mode in less than 24 hours and goes on Seoul Patrol for the next few days covering the 21st Pacificwide Open Interservice Softball Tournament:
-- It’s the smallest field of teams since the Pac-wide opened for business on Memorial Day weekend 1991, just 16 post- or open-level and eight company-level men’s teams and 10 women’s teams. But the event features the most revolutionary format the tournament has ever seen.
-- For the first time in the tournament’s history, the varsity teams will knock heads with each other while the little fellers, the company-level teams, are grouped in their own world, where they can not only beat up on each other … they can win their own championship.
-- It sort of resembles the annual Bangkok International tournament in November, where teams that get knocked out of the championship bracket early play in the lower bracket, called the Governor’s Cup, and the winner takes home a title.
-- OK, so it’s not the big enchilada, but it’s an enchilada nonetheless. And I’m sure whether it’s 501st Military Intelligence or the Geckos Glaciers Hockey Club winning the thing, they’ll be happy with it.
-- As to the base- and open-team playoffs, it very much resembles the format used in the old San Miguel tournaments in the 1980s. Back then, teams had to qualify for the double-elimination playoff, which would be followed by a best-of-three championship series between the survivors.
-- "But they didn’t take all the teams" into the San Miguel double-elimination playoff, longtime Pac-wide organizer Bennie L. Jackson said correctly. In this weekend’s Pac-wide’s case, all eight teams in each of the two varsity pools will be cross-seeded against each other in two double-elimination pools. Those playoffs begin Sunday morning and culminate with the best-of-three finals starting at 10 a.m. Monday.
-- I’ve heard equal-parts praise and criticism of the new format in just the few hours I’ve been on the ground here. All I can say is, we’ll wait and see what happens.
-- The tournament began with a women’s matchup pitting Osan Air Base against defending champion Yard Busters, in which former Yard Buster Jessica Meadows suited up for the Mustangs. Meadows played for Yard Busters in last year’s Pac-wide, which they won over Korea’s national team in a two-game final. She’s now on a one-year assignment to Osan before she transfers in October to Aviano Air Base, Italy. "Anxious, nervous, a lot of mixed emotions," Meadows said of the Osan-Yard Busters matchup, which her new team won 6-1.
-- Speaking of Osan, a pair of old salts, one of whom played at the penultimate San Miguel tournament in 1989, are coaching the Mustangs men’s team, a collection of youngsters, including a couple of future All-Air Force hopefuls. Kevin Meade, 48, a retired chief master sergeant from Bluefield, W.Va., is a contractor at the Air Force hospital on Osan Air Base, and shares an office with his coaching partner, Robert Waddle, another retired chief from San Antonio.
"I’m just an older chief," said Waddle, 63, who did two one-year tours at Osan from 1980-81 and 1986-87 before returning as a civilian who coached Osan from 1992-2004. Meade has coached at Kadena, Okinawa (1998-2000), Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii (2003-05) and now at Osan.
-- So, just who wins the tournament’s Silver Wings award this year, for furthest distance traveled? Strictly from a standpoint of miles, Lynell McLeod, a staff sergeant assigned to Moody Air Force Base, Ga., flew 7,337 miles to get to Seoul’s Inchon International Airport. Nelly wins the award for the second straight year and is playing for his third team in three years. But you also have to give props to Mike Sharp, a retired Army sergeant first class who lives in Naples, Italy, with his DODDS teacher wife, the former Jen Davies, a Seoul American graduate. Sharp, who plays for the International Guzzlers, went 5,569 miles from Naples to Inchon.
More later this weekend.
Published: May 27, 2011
With the spring sports season now in the books, Pacific Stars and Stripes will begin naming its choices for the standout performers of 2011 in each spring sport – boys soccer and soccer, track and field, baseball and girls softball.
We'd like to make you part of the selection process. In the comment section below, tell us whom you think stood out above all the others in any of the spring sports, and tell us why. If you have any stats from baseball and softball (I have the complete soccer goal totals and track and field marks), please list those, too. We'd love to hear from you.
And while you're at it, how about letting us know whom you think Stripes should name as its male and female Athletes of the Quarter and Year for the 2010-11 school year? Your voice just might influence the dude who makes the final calls (me).
So, shout it out! Be true to your school, but remember: You’ve entered THE "No-Hate Zone."
Published: May 22, 2011
Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer readies to put the finishing touches on the soccer season, with one eye on the color radar worrying whether the weather will be good for softball and track on Okinawa:
-- I think it can be told now. The gradual transition of power from Okinawa in the early 2000s to free-for-all in the late 2000s to the Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference assuming control of the title "Pacific Soccer Powerhouse" is now complete. And no further proof is needed than a quick glance at the title tote board for the 2011 season:
-- Seoul Foreign, KAIAC Division I boys and girls regular-season titles, boys postseason tournament title, girls Asia-Pacific Activities Conference tournament title.
-- Seoul American, KAIAC D-I girls tournament title, boys first Far East D-I tournament title in school history, girls D-I bronze.
-- Yongsan International-Seoul, KAIAC D-I boys regular-season and tournament runner-up, third Far East D-II Tournament title in four years and fifth overall.
-- Osan American, third straight girls Far East D-II Tournament title and DODDS Pacific-record seventh overall.
-- That enough for ya?
-- Now, a quick examination of the reasons why the transition would reveal not so much what’s wrong with Okinawa soccer – because nothing is – but how the rest of the region, specifically Korea, is making great strides in not only catching up, but passing Okinawa.
-- For starters, KAIAC has become far more competitive as a league than it was, say, 10 years ago when Seoul Foreign pretty much ruled the roost and anything other than a Crusaders championship in anything KAIAC was viewed as an epochal upset.
-- Take a look, top to bottom, at the KAIAC boys regular season, where not just two or three, but SIX teams were in the running for the top seed in the KAIAC tournament for most of the regular season. Even when the seedings became apparent, what was also apparent was that Seoul Foreign, Yongsan International-Seoul, Seoul International, Gyeonggi Suwon International, Taejon Christian International and Seoul American were all viewed as capable of winning the KAIAC Tournament. Ultimately, SFS and YIS-S prevailed in the top two spots, but it wasn’t easy getting there.
-- A majority of players populating these teams, as well as the girls sides, are native Koreans or those with Korean roots, who were wee young’uns when South Korea’s national team reached the World Cup semifinals in 2002. If they weren’t aware then, they certainly have seen and heard "Be The Reds!" enough times that they, too, want to be successful at what’s becoming their country’s game. They want to play it and be good at it. And no longer is the sport seasonal in Korea; the game is played year round, and many of those on these KAIAC teams are doing so.
-- SFS’s boys had always been competitive in APAC. But the first Far East warning shot was fired in 2005 by Osan American’s boys. Yongsan International-Seoul, then known as International Christian-Seoul, followed in 2006, leading to a grand total of five Far East Boys D-II Tournament titles won by KAIAC teams in the last seven years.
-- Joining them at the top of the hit parade this year was a Seoul American team that had made just one Far East D-I Final Four appearance, seven years ago. This year, behind a strong cadre of midfielders such as tournament MVP Josh Chung, scoring specialist Peter Kim and backstopped by keeper Kenneth Butts, the Falcons finally made it to the end, downing Christian Academy Japan 3-2 in an epic semifinal before edging Kubasaki 1-0 in double-overtime on a goal by David Voelker in the 93rd minute.
-- Coach Steve Boyd’s Falcons achieved that milestone just a year after Seoul American’s girls made similar school history behind an epic goalkeeping performance by uber-athlete Liz Gleaves. And the Falcons came within a semifinal loss to eventual champion American School In Japan of doing the same thing this year at D-I.
-- Then, there’s Osan American’s girls, whom I should have long ago realised you never count out when it comes to playing in Far East Division II Tournaments. They have a Pacific-record seven Far East titles, but this one was probably the least expected, given the injuries they suffered much of the season to key players such as senior striker Stephanie McDole and midfielder Courtney Ouellette.
-- So, what did the Cougars do? Turn to defense and goalkeeping, as in longtime sweeper Alina Hauter and stopper Lydia Kim, and the wall in net, senior Deanne Polaski. They allowed no goals in six pool-play matches and just two in five elimination matches, none in the last three in which they blanked Matthew C. Perry in two championship matches, including a penalty-kick shootout in the clinching match.
-- That made three championships in a row for Osan. They also won the first two D-II titles in 2002 and 2003 and again in 2005 and 2006.
-- The only other teams to win D-II girls titles? ... Faith Academy in 2004 and 2008 and Daegu American in 2007.
-- Osan American has 13 total Far East D-II Tournament titles, Seoul American 23 D-I titles, Daegu American 10 D-II crowns and Pusan American won two D-IIs until its doors closed in 2006.
-- As for Okinawa ... the island pretty much ruled Far East soccer until around 2006, the year in which Okinawa Activities Council teams last swept the D-I championships. Kadena’s and Kubasaki’s teams are still the most decorated D-I sides in the Pacific, with Kadena’s girls owning five and Kubasaki’s three, Kadena’s boys with four and Kubasaki’s three.
-- But this was the first year since 2008 that two Okinawa teams made it to the D-I Tournament finals, and they each met the same fate, Kubasaki’s boys losing 1-0 to Seoul American in double-overtime and the Dragons girls falling 1-0 to American School In Japan.
-- Prior to Kubasaki reaching both D-I finals, Kadena’s boys played in last year’s D-I championship, losing to Hong Kong International. Two Okinawa teams had not lost in two D-II finals since Kubasaki in 2004.
-- The last Okinawa team to win a D-I title was Kubasaki’s boys, when the Sadler brothers, Colton and Cody, teamed for a goal off a set piece in the 2008 championship, a golden goal in sudden-death overtime against Christian Academy Japan.
-- Speaking of the Knights, this was the first time CAJ had not won the D-I championship in an odd-numbered year since they began such a streak in 2005. The Knights are the only team in Far East history to have won titles at both the D-I and D-II levels; CAJ won the 2002 D-II crown at Matthew C. Perry.
-- One can only imagine how well Guam High’s girls would have done had not midfielders Catie Jorgenson and Lexi Vermeire and striker Meagan Speck hadn’t departed the island starting last June and ending in December with Speck moving to North Carolina.
-- Alina Hauter’s Most Valuable Player award makes her the second in her family to achieve such lofty heights. Van Hauter was so honored after the Cougars won the 2005 D-II Tournament; the father, Mike, is a longtime civilian at Osan Air Base. Now, can Alex Hauter follow in their footsteps? We will find out next season. J
-- Never before had a goalkeeper done so much in two championship matches as Deanne Polaski. Two years ago, she backstopped Zama American to its first and only Far East Girls D-I Tournament title; on Thursday, she did likewise in stoning Matthew C. Perry. That makes her the first goalkeeper in Pacific history to be in net for two penalty-kick shootouts in two finals in two divisions for two different teams.
-- What better way for Birke Duerloo, who entered as a freshman when ASIJ won its first Girls D-I title in 2008, to exit as a senior. And almost in identical fashion; ASIJ beat Kubasaki 1-0 in that 2008 final at Yokota, on a 40-yard kick from the right side by Ivie Myntti at the start of the second half. Near the end of the first half last Friday, Katie Helwick launched a shot from 25 yards away on the left side that beat Kubasaki keeper Rimika Ortiz to the far right corner.
-- With Seoul American’s boys championship, Steve Boyd became the first coach in Pacific high school sports history to win DODDS Far East D-I tournaments in three sports in three seasons. He owns two Far East cross-country team titles, three basketball crowns and now soccer.
-- And if Seoul American’s girls softball team can win the Far East tournament title on Thursday ... that would put coach Julian Harden, owner of two D-I football and three D-I wrestling titles, in the same pantheon as Boyd. Within the span of six days.
-- A real tip of the hat D-I tournament organizers Fred Bales and Mike Ochoa for judicious juggling of fields through Monday's and Tuesday's vicious rains to ensure that their showcase fields were playable for the semifinals and championship matches. And to the groundskeepers who kept the fields somehow perking. Yes, Kubasaki's upper field and Ryukyu Middle School Field are pretty much wiped out. Their sacrifice is well noted and appreciated. :)
Published: May 22, 2011
Another season’s in the books, the stag straps have been tucked into the backpack and another countdown has begun (280 days), so just a couple of business items left before we put the 2011 Pacific high school soccer season to bed.
Such as the final Pacific ratings, which were shaken dramatically after last week’s DODDS Pacific Far East Division I and II tournaments, where the cream always rises to the top and teams that didn’t distinguish as well as they’d have liked during the regular season ... suddenly find all the light switches snapping on at the right time.
Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere we go:
1, Seoul Foreign (12-2-2). Season complete before Far East. Would have been nice to see how they’d have fared against D-I champion Seoul American in a Far East tournament setting.
2, Yongsan International-Seoul (16-3-3). As suspected, the Guardians made plenty of noise at D-II, capturing their third title in four years and fifth overall.
3, Seoul American (13-7-5). Just goes to show what playing in an uber-competitive league such as Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference will do for a team. The Falcons clearly showed their own and the league’s worth.
4, Kubasaki, Okinawa (15-7-3). A true dogfight, that D-I championship match was; the Falcons made the play when they had to. The breaks just didn’t fall the Dragons’ way.
5, Matthew C. Perry, Japan (20-4-1). Despite the D-II runner-up finish, Samurai still fashioned best record in school history and had the region’s leading goal scorer in Tyelor Apple (34).
6, Christian Academy Japan (8-2-1). Like Kubasaki, the Knights came up just a tad short in a huge showdown with Seoul American, losing in the semifinals.
7, Nile C. Kinnick, Japan (10-6-3). Finishing fourth at D-I was a monumental achievement for a school that two months ago was turning in its gear, thinking there’d be no spring sports season.
8, Seoul International (10-4-2). Season completed before Far East.
9 , Father Duenas Memorial, Guam. Congratulations to the island champions. Might it be possible, someday, to see teams other than Guam High come to Far East from the island?
10, Taejon Christian International, South Korea (9-5-2). Season completed before Far East.
1, Seoul Foreign (20-2-2). Season completed before Far East. Winning the Asia-Pacific Activities Conference tournament title and another KAIAC D-I regular-season championship puts the Crusaders on top.
2, American School In Japan (10-1-1). Senior Birke Duerloo exits just as she entered Mustang soccer in 2008, as a Far East D-I Tournament champion.
3, Kubasaki, Okinawa (13-6-2). As in the boys final, Dragons assailed the opposing goal, but couldn’t get the equaliser as the Mustangs prevailed in an epic final.
4, Seoul American (17-3-3). Also vanquished by ASIJ, in the D-I semifinals, but brought up the rear of a parade of KAIAC D-I teams that placed high in Far East play and is built for the future as well.
5, Osan American, South Korea (16-7-5). After a pedestrian 8-6-2 regular season, Cougars turned on the jets when the time was right and capped a D-II three-peat run with its defense-minded squad.
6, Notre Dame, Guam (season complete). Another team I’d like to see one day come to Far East; rival coaches tell me this team is the real deal, despite losing the island final last December to Guam High.
7, Matthew C. Perry, Japan (15-5-4). With Pacific goal-scoring leader Bre’Onna Ray (52 goals) in tow, the Samurai girls combined with the boys for a school-best 35-9-5 overall record. Very, very good for a school of 120.
8, Nile C. Kinnick, Japan (9-3-5). Like the boys, the Red Devils girls acquitted themselves smartly after all that talk of combining with Zama American two months ago. If Vicky Hollingshead doesn’t get hurt in the semifinals, who knows how far Kinnick might have gone?
9, Daegu American, South Korea (17-6-2). Uncharacteristically faded in the D-II playoffs, but that regular season, the best in school history, keeps the Warriors in the Top 10.
10, Guam High. Though the injured Panthers didn’t do well at Far East, they were still second in Guam’s regular season and dethroned Notre Dame to win the school’s second island championship back last December,
Think these are full of hooey? Think you have better ratings to offer? Shout it out! Be true to your school, but remember … you’ve entered THE "No-Hate Zone." J
Published: May 16, 2011
Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer continues to wring himself out from the day-long deluge that was known as Day 1 of the 2011 Far East High School Division I Soccer Tournaments and is reminded, once more, that Okinawa + May = rain:
-- Can any stronger a case be made than Monday’s downpours to finally get somebody within DODDS’ financial affairs to cough up money for field turf, which has worked sensationally well in Korea and on Naval facilities in Japan but has yet to find its way to Okinawa, and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, the longest of the long-time Far East soccer tournament hosts?
-- Yes, yes, I know, the initial outlay is enough to scare even the most liberal of big spenders. But I say again: Field turf pays for itself inside of a year or so. It doesn’t get torn up, nor does it gather puddles of standing water in driving rain, and the only maintenance it needs? A good vacuuming once or so a month.
-- Would every last one of 15 pool-play matches scheduled for Day 1 of the D-I soccer tournaments, girls at Kadena and boys at Kubasaki, been postponed? Only if thunder and lightning had accompanied Monday’s Biblical rainfall. Other than that, I sincerely doubt that a single match would have gone by the boards. It might have been a tad slippery here and there, but not nearly as bad as Field Turf’s predecessor, AstroTurf, which at times during NFL games would resemble AstroSurf, what with so many players losing their purchase.
-- Either is better than watching portions of the one match, Seoul American vs. Christian Academy Japan boys at Kubasaki’s Upper Field, that they tried to get in. "If we’re going to wreck a field, it’s going to be Upper," tournament director Fred Bales said Monday morning. The slipping and sliding gave Upper all the appearance of a muddy skating rink; I’m thinking of renaming it Lake Upper after Monday.
-- As it is, never before had whole days of two Far East soccer tournaments been washed out due to bad weather in one day. It’s only happened twice previously in Division I girls tournaments, in 2004 and 2008, and a few times at Iwakuni, where buckets and squeegees are as common a rite at Penny Lake Field as tax deadlines on April 15.
-- Penny Lake, and Matthew C. Perry High School’s fields, are also prime candidates for field turfing, and crowning. Penny Lake sits below sea level; all it takes is a good five-minute downpour and the entire complex slips underwater.
-- Where they were able to play soccer, it became pretty clear early that Yongsan International-Seoul and Matthew C. Perry’s boys are the teams to beat at the D-II level, which was expected. Jimmy Kim, Jona Park and YIS-Seoul finished No. 2 in Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference Division I, in the most competitive season the league has ever seen. Meanwhile, Pacific-leading scorer Tyelor Apple and Perry owned Japan’s best regular-season record and the best record in school history entering the D-II event at South Korea’s Camp Humphreys.
-- What was not expected at the Girls Division II Tournament at Iwakuni was Osan American making a solid defensive statement. After a rather pedestrian regular season, on Monday the Cougars didn’t fill the back of the net much, scoring only four goals, but Courtney Ouellette scored just enough and a stingy defense, backstopped by sweeper Alina Hauter and goalkeeper Deanne Polaski, pitched three shutouts at its foes. Osan, with 21 points, sat two points behind host Perry, with Pacific-leading scorer Bre’Onna Ray.
-- Then, there were Zama American's boys and girls teams, in their first venture into D-II ball after dropping from D-I with great reluctance. Hime Pitts and Rachel Walls were relentless and the Trojans girls stand third with 18 points entering Tuesday's play. Zama's boys, led by Derek Stevenson, also netted 18 points and captured the top seed entering double-elimination playoffs coming out of Pool C. Not bad, Zama.
More to come.
Published: May 15, 2011
You might note a flashing carousel-like feature on the main Pacific sports page that says "Far East soccer" which, if you try to click on it, can be a bit of a pain to catch up to. Try clicking here. We'll try our best to keep you updated with Far East soccer tournament scores as they happen.
Published: May 12, 2011
Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer decompresses from his latest globetrotting journey and goes about the business of getting ready for Far East tournaments, whilst celebrating his first few days as the proud father of a college graduate:
-- What to watch for at the Far East track and field meet May 23-25 at Kubasaki’s Mike Petty Stadium, the Pacific’s shrine of track: Yokota’s Preston Brooks and Kelsey Scott and Kubasaki’s Bianca Johnson and A.J. Watson chasing the Pacific 100 and 200 records; Kadena’s Lotty Smith and Kubasaki’s Conor MacMannis vying to be the first to high jump 2 meters; more possible 400-meter relay records falling; and Fred Gustafsson of Yokota breaking new hurdles ground. Oh, what would have been if voluntary departures had not gutted Nile C. Kinnick? And oh, what would have been had Korea's teams, including fledgling Osan and Daegu American, had naught more than a few practices and one meet on April 23 at Pyeongtaek ... and no meet experience in hurdling, throwing and jumping? Expect that Kadena will win the boys and Kubasaki the girls team titles.
-- What to watch for at the Far East softball tournament May 23-26 at Kadena Air Base’s FourDiamonds Complex: Coach Jesse Costa of reigning Far East champion and nine-time Okinawa Activities Council district champion Kadena says you ain’t got game if you don’t have pitching. The Panthers have it in abundance, and not just reigning MVP Desirae Seals; junior transfer Lauren Youngs and sophomore holdover Kelly Kaneshiro are solid arms as well, which is why Kadena will repeat as Far East champion.
-- What to watch for at the Far East baseball tournament May 23-26 at Camps Walker and Carroll in South Korea: Reigning Far East champion Kubasaki may have won its sixth straight OAC district title, but is not nearly what it was the past couple of seasons. Still, with Andrew Estes and Jell-O Bourdony on the hill, that gives the Dragons a fighting chance against most. I like Kubasaki meeting American School In Japan in the final, with reigning runner-up Kadena and perennial Korea power Seoul American waiting in the wings.
-- What to watch for at the Far East Boys Division I Soccer Tournament May 16-20 at Kubasaki High School: Any one of five in the record-low field of seven teams can make a run at golden glory, Christian Academy Japan, Kubasaki, Kadena, Seoul American and Nile C. Kinnick, perhaps in that very order. I like CAJ to complete a run at its fourth Far East title; the Knights don’t have that singular signature star in Leo Kobayashi but in the Smoker brothers and Ryo Fuseya and playmaker Ryan Hollands, they have what it takes to make a deep run at the gold.
-- What to watch for at the Far East Girls Division I Soccer Tournament May 16-20 at Kadena High School: A move across town, same result, only this time, Seoul American, which scored just 42 goals in 26 matches last year and relied mainly on the strength of goalkeeper Liz Gleaves, is far more of an offensive threat. The Falcons scored 61 goals in 17 matches, and besides Gleaves (29 goals), freshmen Amanda Jackson and Tori Roberts (combined 19 goals) provide more scoring power and staying power for the future.
-- What to watch for at the Far East Boys Division II Soccer Tournament May 16-19 at Camp Humphreys, South Korea: A three-way Pier 6 brawl for the title between Korea powerhouse Yongsan International-Seoul with its scoring cadre led by Jimmy Kim (20 goals) and Shin Ikeda (nine goals, 10 assists) against defending champion Matthew C. Perry, which has four scorers in double figures led by Pacific leader Tyelor Apple (29). These teams have won the last three Division II Tournament titles. Appropriate that they’ll meet in Thursday’s final.
-- What to watch for at the Far East Girls Division II Soccer Tournament May 16-19 at Penny Lake Fields 1 and 2, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan: If the Biblical rains halt and the fields dry off in time, this should be an interesting battle between host Matthew C. Perry, with Pacific-leading scorers Bre’Onna Ray (38 goals); Daegu American, which fashioned a school-best regular-season record mainly without key striker Kristina Bergman (knee injury) and reigning two-time champion Osan American, whose last two seasons can be summed up in a word: injuries. If the Cougars can be somewhat more healthy going in, they may make a deep three-peat run, but I have to go with the host Samurai here.
Some travel jottings for the week:
-- WiFi on United Airlines’ Premium Service flights from San Francisco to New York and back: The best thing since New York pizza, which is the yardstick by which any good connoisseur should measure pizza.
-- Where, oh, where did the electronics shop that used to stand halfway between United’s international and domestic terminals at San Francisco International disappear to?
-- Skies over Japan remain lurid and angry. From the time United Flight 885 from San Francisco flew overland over Hokkaido until All-Nippon Airways Flight 1739 landed at Naha, whenever my flights flew over land, we bounced like a marble in a bathtub; when over water, soared on what felt like an untroubled sea.
-- It’s been nearly 10 years, but I don’t think I’ll ever get used to seeing the New York skyline from the air sans the World Trade Center towers.
-- If you’re flying United in the next couple of weeks or so, avoid when possible the movie "No Strings Attached" starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. Two words: Train wreck. Kutcher’s "Dude, Where’s My Car?" was far less painful to watch, because it didn’t pretend to be anything other than a campy, dumb comedy, which "No Strings" was. It pretended to be a romantic comedy, and wasn’t. I thought Portman was above films like that.
Mark plus 73.
Published: May 10, 2011
Twelve years ago at Kadena High School, Lorenzo Mills was accorded my very first James Brown Award winner as the hardest-working high-school athlete in the Pacific.
Mills played for coach Scott Davis' boys basketball team AND wrestled for Kadena (before standard procedures were enacted in 2000 that effectively barred high school athletes from playing two sports in a season).
Mills would start at point guard, then about midway through the second quarter his 129-pound wrestling bout would come up. He'd dash into the lockerroom, change into his singlet, go out to the mat (wrestling matches were held in the cafeteria) and pin his opponent, then dash back into the lockerroom, re-don his basketball togs and head back to the hardwood.
Davis e-mailed my Stripes’ Europe colleague Rusty Bryan on Tuesday to ask whether he or I could recall any track athlete who's ever qualified, as Kaiserslautern sophomore Ashley Santos finished doing last Saturday, for the DODDS Europe or Far East meets in eight running events -- the 100, 200, 400, 800, 1,500 and 3,000 meters and the 100- and 300-meter hurdles.
I sure can’t. Neither could Rusty. But perhaps some of you can.
Let us know about anyone – male female – you can recall who's equaled Santos' feat. We'd love to go down memory lane with you.
In the meantime, consider what Santos has accomplished so far this season, courtesy of Bavaria District Superintendent Mike Thompson. Here's his list of the qualifying marks in each event, followed by Santos' best time so far in each race:
100 meters—13.10 seconds, 13.10
200 meters—27.40, 27.37
400 meters—1 minute, 4.00, 1:02.33
800 meters—2:36.00, 2:27.75
1,500 meters—5:26.00, 5:15.50
3,000 meters—12:07.00, 11:32.27
100-meter intermediate hurdles—18.20, 17.43
300-meter low hurdles—53.00, 50.22 (best in Europe so far in 2011)
Unfortunately for K-Town, Santos is due to transfer to Texas for her junior and senior seasons. Bavaria’s loss is the Lone Star State’s gain.
Published: May 6, 2011
With the Okinawa Activities Council district championships in track and field, softball and baseball ongoing (and with Ornauer en route to the States to watch his daughter graduate university), I’m posting this so people may reply with shoutouts about who did some things extraordinary, a no-hitter, a district or Pacific track and field record, anything you think is worth mentioning. So, shout it out! Be true to your school, but remember, you’ve entered THE "No-Hate Zone." J
Published: May 6, 2011
UPDATES May 6 post with Korea camp information.
Camp directors Greg Rosenberger and Joanna Wyche have announced that registration is open for next month’s OVA-Tallman Volleyball Camps, scheduled for June 12-20 at Kadena Air Base's O'Connor Gym on Okinawa and June 21-24 at the Osan Air Base fitness and sports center in South Korea.
Players who will be in grades 6-12 for the next school year are invited to the camps, designed to improve the skills of players at all ability levels from beginner to advanced.
Published: May 1, 2011
Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer stares in wonder at the Taiyo Golf Course layout card and wonders how in the heck he made it through 15 holes, even taking carts through most of the back nine:
-- "This just makes me sick," David Abbott told me on the phone early Saturday morning when he broke the news that that day’s DODDS Korea track and field meet scheduled at Camp Casey’s Schoonover Bowl featured an unscheduled nature’s fireworks display that morning. Stated another way, weather scotched the proceedings before they could even begin.
"The kids have worked so hard. We pushed until the last minute" to hold out some hope that the meet could be held. But the weather kept up all day, forcing Seoul American, Daegu American and Osan American to turn back their track teams to home.
-- It’s bad enough, Abbott said, that there were only two regular-season meets scheduled in this, DODDS Korea’s track league’s first season. That the weather interfered meant the season might be reduced to one meet, and none of the league’s athletes could meet or surpass Far East meet qualifying standards.
-- Just another brick in the wall of what I’ve come to call the Pacific’s lost season, in which the gap between haves and have-nots across the board is as pronounced, articulately and loudly, as it ever has been. And it's absolutely, utterly, totally not the fault of anything except outside influences affecting the amount of preparation time that teams will have ... or not have.
-- Thanks to weather in Korea, and thanks to the destructive force of nature that shook northeastern Japan at 2:46 p.m. on March 11, among other things, high school teams in Korea and Japan – in all sports, not just track – must rely on a dearth of competitive regular-season events to get them ready for Far East tournament competition later this month.
-- All sports in DODDS Japan were called off through the end of March, along with a handful of other Far East activities. Meaningful competition resumed on April 22 and 23 for schools in Japan, leaving just three weekends (May 13-14 is a travel weekend) to prepare.
-- Korea’s baseball and softball season started a week late; snow buried the fields at Osan Air Base on March 26, and the teams didn’t hit the field until April 1. That leaves those six teams with just five weeks to get ready for Far East, assuming that action May 7 and 14 doesn’t get washed out. And there’s such a wide gap between the haves and have-nots in that league to start with.
-- Thankfully, special exceptions have been made this year to accommodate track and field teams who won’t have a full complement of meets such as Kadena and Kubasaki on Okinawa and the Independent Interscholastic Athletic Association of Guam teams headed to Far East. Each team is permitted to bring 10 girls and 10 boys, regardless whether they met qualifying distances and times. And if they all do, teams may bring a maximum of five more provided they meet qualifying standards as well.
-- It’s the meet and game experience level, or lack thereof, that will put the Japan and Korea teams at a distinct disadvantage against their Okinawa and Guam counterparts in all sports.
-- DODDS Korea’s track league may get in one more meet, tentatively set for May 14 back at Schoonover. IF they can secure the track that day. If not, all Seoul, Osan and Daegu will have that they can call experience is the one meet held April 23 at Pyeongtaek Municipal Sports Complex, and that only had sprint and distance events; no hurdles and no field events. Some athletes might show up at Far East and jump or throw for the very first time this season.
-- As for baseball and softball, Seoul American’s teams are clearly a level or two above that of Osan and Daegu as the season win-loss records show (though Osan’s girls softball team has had its way with Daegu and gave Seoul a tussle a time or two). The truncated schedule gives the Cougars and the Warriors that much less time to prepare and improve.
-- Meanwhile, Okinawa’s and Guam’s regular campaigns continued unabated; Kadena’s and Kubasaki’s track teams will have had eight meets to get ready, including Friday’s district meet at Koza Stadium.
-- What can be done about the preparation gap? Very little can be done, other than what DODDS has already mandated in terms of shortening pool-play games in the baseball, softball and soccer tournaments. I don’t see how they can shorten sprints and distance races or give allowances for throwers and jumpers in track; they’ve already made exceptions to the qualifying standards.
-- Guess this spring, we muddle through the big muddy, and yes, perhaps Kadena, Kubasaki and Guam High will steamroll the track competition, especially.
-- But at least there will BE Far Easts this spring. For awhile, the rumour mill spun wildly that they would go the way of the Flying Wedge at least for this spring and return full bore next. Which is what will happen (barring any more disasters up in northeast Japan, heaven forbid).
-- Back to Korea’s weather and its effects … even soccer wasn’t spared Ma Nature’s wrath over the weekend in the Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference Division I Soccer Tournaments.
-- Rain fell all day Saturday. Play was delayed by thunder and lightning in the Boys D-1 by 90 minutes; the girls began 5 minutes late. And in the afternoon, more pyrotechnics dotted the sky, forcing three total placement matches to be canceled and most others, except the championship matches, to be played with 30-minute halves.
-- And the finals … they were played, as one coach said later, in driving rain and in puddles of water in some places, with Seoul American’s girls on a PK by freshman Amanda Jackson beating Seoul Foreign 1-0 for the second straight year, and Seoul Foreign’s boys outlasting Yongsan International-Seoul in PKs 5-4.
-- Baseball and softball escaped nature’s wrath, with all six games completed, girls at Camp Walker’s Kelly Field and boys at Camp Carroll in Waegwan.
-- Rain was a definite no-show everywhere else, thankfully.
-- Remember the name Fred Gustafsson, he of the Kanto Plain record in the 300 hurdles; he clocked a 39.46 in the event on April 23 at Yokota High’s Bonk Field, breaking his own record of 42.6 set a year ago. On Saturday, he ran the 110 hurdles in 15.11. Just a junior, he says he plans to return next year and push 38s and 14s in both events.
-- Pretty clear that American School In Japan and Nile C. Kinnick rule the Kanto Plain girls soccer roost, if Saturday’s shotgun tournament at ASIJ ‘s Mustang Valley is an indicator, the Mustangs going 4-0-1 and the Red Devils, sans scorer Meghan Pomeroy but none the worse for wear, going 2-0-3.
-- And Zach Yoder and the Kinnick boys continue to make strides; the Red Devils won both their matches in a tournament at Yokosuka on Saturday.
-- With Faith Academy and Hong Kong International not coming to the Far East D-1 boys and girls tournaments, on paper it appears as if Christian Academy Japan’s boys, a 2-0 winner last week over Kinnick, and Seoul American’s girls enter those tournaments starting May 16 as the favorites.
-- Still, this is Okinawa where the tournaments are going to be held, and even though Kadena and Kubasaki aren’t the powerhouses they once were when they virtually ran the table in the early 2000s, there’s still a great deal of island pride involved.
-- Off the beaten Far East Tournament sport path, Seoul American’s swim team (nee Yongsan Barracudas) appear yet again to be built for now and built for the future. John Graham exited the stage by breaking his own 50 butterfly record and helping the Falcons shatter the 200 freestyle relay record. He and sophomore transfer Samantha Merritt from Maryland each won three individual events; Merritt appears poised to take on the role of girls team leader once held by the likes of Sarah Yance and others over Seoul American’s storied swim history.
-- Somebody wins a tournament on Okinawa’s Taiyo Golf Links in Gushikawa, boy, they earn it. That has to be the most unforgiving layout I’ve seen since walking Shinnecock Hils on Long Island many years ago. Try 6,645 yards (from the back tee), par 72, with each fairway flanked by thick woods and other impassable things and the greens as hard as Formica table tops and as unpredictable as weather. You make a mistake on your drive or your approach, believe me, you’d better settle for a two-stroke drop. And watching some of those putts is one reason why I would never take up golf seriously, or even recreationally. Ornatubo’s infamous temper would claim too many putters for it to be financially worthwhile.
-- Congratulations, then, to boys repeat individual champion Reid Henderson of Kadena, who carded an 85 to finish with a 19-over 163, 21 strokes ahead of runner-up Matt Duffy of Kubasaki, and fellow senior Landis Mathis, whose second-day 94 gave her a two-day total of 201, 21 better than Terah Whitehurst of Kubasaki.
-- Watch for those names, Duffy and Whitehurst. They’re just freshmen but they do have a passion for the game and in due time, you’ll see them take the place of the Hendersons and the Mathises of the Okinawa high school golf world.
Mark plus 63.
Published: May 1, 2011
With the Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference Division I Tournaments in the books, here’s Ornauer’s next instance of placing proverbial neck on proverbial chopping block, rating the Pacific’s soccer teams one next-to-last time before Far East, after the handful of matches slated between May 7-14.
And with profuse apologies to American School In Japan’s girls and Seoul American's boys, who somehow got left off the docket last week *as I glare at my balky ratings software*.
Let’s see if these ratings can engender even close to the response that last week’s sparked.
Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere we go:
1, Seoul Foreign (12-2-2). They’re back atop the KAIAC heap for the ninth straight regular season and eighth straight D-1 tournament. But it was anything but easy for these Crusaders, as the season and tournament clearly demonstrated.
2, Christian Academy Japan (2-0). Had a bit of a tussle keeping ahead of Nile C. Kinnick last week, but maintained and has yet to be scored on this season.
3, Yongsan International-Seoul (10-3-3). The Guardians and Crusaders could clearly make some major noise were they to attend the Far East Division I Tournaments later this month.
4, Matthew C. Perry, Japan (16-1-1). Best regular season in school history, the Pacific’s leading scorer, Tyelor Apple (29 goals) and four others in double figures to boot. Not bad for a school of 120.
5, Kubasaki, Okinawa (8-5-2). Likely will be DODDS’ top dog in this month’s Far East D-I tournament. Dragons have the speed, quickness and firepower; it’s consistency that will be key.
6, Nile C. Kinnick, Japan (5-3-2). Zach Yoder is starting to feel his scoring oats for a Red Devils team that proved its worth in a four-team tournament over the weekend.
7, Seoul International (10-4-2). Great effort by Eddie Cho, Hiro Watanabe, Patrick O’Sullivan & Co.; they, too, could make a dent in one of the Far East tournaments.
8, Seoul American (7-6-4). Gallant work at season’s end by the Falcons, tying Taejon Christian International in the regular-season finale, then playing three tough matches before coming away with third place in the KAIAC D-1 Tournament.
9 (tie), Father Duenas Memorial and Southern, Guam (each 7-0). Call 'em an entry, a SportsBlog Nation first. They're deadlocked atop the Independent Interscholastic Athletic Association of .Guam standings (Dolphins have a better goal differential) and we won't see them at Far East. Pity.
10, Taejon Christian International, South Korea (9-5-1). Good effort by the 2003 Far East D-II Tournament champions behind the scoring touch of Jerry Promise (17 goals).
1, Seoul American (13-2-2). Senior Liz Gleaves (29 goals) scored eight times last week, but freshman Amanda Jackson’s PK in the 42nd minute was what gave the Falcons their second straight KAIAC D-1 title-match win over Seoul Foreign. With Jackson and Tori Roberts, built for now, built to last.
2, Seoul Foreign (20-2-2). Despite the finals defeat, Crusaders still go home with their fifth straight KAIAC D-1 regular-season title during coach Joon Myong’s watch.
3, American School In Japan (5-0-1). She began her Mustangs career with a Far East D-1 Tournament championship; senior Birke Duerloo (5 goals) would utterly thrill to exiting in similar manner.
4, Daegu American, South Korea (12-3-2). Victimized by a PK shootout against Taejon Christian International for a fifth straight year, but that’s usually the sign of a deep Far East D-II Tournament run.
5, Matthew C. Perry, Japan (9-2-1). With Pacific goal-scoring leader Bre’Onna Ray (38 goals) in tow, the Samurai have combined with their boys counterparts for a school-best 25-3-2 record. Again, pretty good for such a small school.
6, Nile C. Kinnick, Japan (7-1-3). Meghan who? Thanks to Mari McDonald’s scoring touch and Audrey Parker’s and Kaile Johnson’s playmaking, the Red Devils went 2-0-3 in that tournament at ASIJ and are still poised for more.
7, Notre Dame, Guam (season complete).
8, Kubasaki, Okinawa (7-5-1). Elizabeth Fabila (18 goals) continues to supply the fireworks with backup goalkeeper Rimika Ortiz still playing in stellar manner. But the fire is still somehow missing.
9, Guam High (season complete)..
10, Taejon Christian International (7-6-4). Rebounded from 5-0 loss to Falcons in KAIAC regular-season finale to survive three tough matches and come away with third in the D-1 Tournament.
Think these are full of hooey? Think you have better ratings to offer? Shout it out! Be true to your school, but remember … you’ve entered THE "No-Hate Zone." J