Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer tips his Brooklyn Dodgers cap to a pitcher named Brooklinn and a pair of seniors who put Zama American front and center in Far East track and field’s throwing events:
They’re similar in that they’re Far East High School Track and Field Meet discus champions. But seniors Roland Cote and Christian Garner took rather differing routes to the top of that heap.
1, American School In Japan. As expected, team with the most balance came away with overall crown.
2, Nile C. Kinnick, Japan. Chew on this: the boys earned just two gold, four silver and two bronze and still won the team title Multiple fourth, fifth and sixth finishers put the Red Devils over the top.
3. Kadena, Okinawa. Two Pacific records in the girls relays. Wow.
4. Kubasaki, Okinawa. Like Kinnick, not many medalists but many a placement kept Dragons in final four.
5, Seoul American. Amanda Henderson. Amazing.
A shoutout for Zion Christian Academy, which swept both Division II team and overall school titles.
Nos. 1 and 2 flip-flopped with each other again to close the season, with Kadena coach Kelli Wilson being good to her word. Now, aside from the Trojans themselves, who in the world saw Zama American coming out of the clear blue, after going 1-3 in pool play, to charge back and win Division II? … Didn’t think so:
1, Kadena, Okinawa. More than made up for the double debacle that was May 12.
2, Kubasaki, Okinawa. They may not have won the whole thing, but the Dragons know they’re competitive now.
3, Zama American, Japan. Brooklinn McElhinny just might be the most popular athlete in school now, the way she came out in the final four games.
4, Guam High. For a team that hadn’t played in a few months and was missing several regulars, the Panthers impressed.
5, Nile C. Kinnick, Japan. Came up two runs short in the semifinals, but that doesn’t diminish that Red Devil of a season.
Gut feeling lookback: Okinawa performed as advertised on the D-I stage; zama threw the D-II for a loop when the playoffs began. What a turnaround!
1, American School In Japan. Losses to Major League Developmental team in China in no way diminish the Mustangs’ season of a generation.
2, Seoul American. What a surprise the Falcons threw at us, with Chris Horton’s and Chung Winchip’s late championship-game heroics.
3, Robert D. Edgren, Japan. Leo Austin, Christian Wolfewicz, Tristan Jefferson, Eagles did what most expected.
4, Kadena, Okinawa. Two innings short of erasing what’s now three years of silver-medal heartbreak.
5, Nile C. Kinnick, Japan. Ross & Ross & Co. just a semifinal loss away from a final that would have been doubly surprising.
Gut feeling lookback: Did NOT see Seoul American coming in D-I; Edgren did exactly as advertised in D-II.
1, Christian Academy Japan (13-1-1). Knights back on top of Pacific boys soccer world.
2, Matthew C. Perry, Japan (33-4-2). Bitter memories of last season’s Far East finals loss wiped away.
3, Nile C. Kinnick, Japan (19-4-4). Not the end the Red Devils wanted, but a great season nonetheless.
4, Yongsan International-Seoul (16-5-4). Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference D-I tournament champs came up just short in PKs vs. Perry.
5, Seoul American (18-7-1). Just a semifinal loss away from perhaps repeating last year’s Far East title glory.
6, Gyeonggi Suwon International, South Korea (14-3). Would love to see the next two teams come to Far East eventually.
7, Seoul Foreign (16-4-1).
8, Kubasaki, Okinawa (11-14-2). Came on strong after that slow start.
9, Taejon Christian International, South Korea (12-8-2). Looking forward to seeing the Dragons’ new digs next season.
10, Kadena, Okinawa (10-7). Watch out for this bunch in years to come.
1, Seoul Foreign (22-1-1). No chance to prove how solid a Far East favorite the Crusaders would be against Kubasaki.
2, Kubasaki, Okinawa (13-2-3). Coach Annie Mudd rolled the dice at season’s beginning with positional changes and they paid off.
3, American School In Japan (11-4-1). Clearly, I underrated this bunch going into Far East.
4, Matthew C. Perry, Japan (18-5-3). Rebuilding? I’d say the task and stated goal came along much sooner than all but the Samurai expected.
5, Seoul American (10-5-3). The expectation is there. Gleaves or not, the Falcons will remain strong for years to come.
6, Nile C. Kinnick, Japan (16-4-5). Not quite the ending they wanted, but like the boys, a terrific regular season.
7, Southern, Guam (10-0-1). What I’d not have given to see how these next two would have done at Far East.
8, Notre Dame (9-0-2).
9, Yokota, Japan (17-7-1). Losing in the quarters to Kinnick in PKs took the wind out of the Panthers’ sails.
10, Taejon Christian International, South Korea (10-4-2).
Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer still finds himself decompressing from Far East high school tournament week and the Pac-wide as he begins the high school graduation rounds:
The number of teams keep dwindling year by year in the Pacificwide Open Softball Tournament. Total number of teams this year fell to 36, 16 men’s post/open-level, 10 men’s company-level and 10 women’s – the fewest since the tournament’s inception, 1991.
Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer makes his way around the Lombardo FourPlex ballfields, still exhausted from the Far East tournament trials and travails.
She first graced the diamonds at Yongsan Garrison when the three Lombardo Field diamonds faced inward and one had to walk long lengths to view one of three standings boards that weren’t always kept up to date.
With 11 broken records in the Far East track and field tournament this week, the D-1 Far East soccer tournaments on Okinawa had a lot to live up to. Day 3 got spicy as the girls kicked off the knockout rounds and the boys wrapped up pool play.
Kanto Plain rivals Nile C. Kinnick and Yokota battled in the last quarterfinal matchup of the day, requiring penalty kicks to decide who moved on. Two misses from Yokota gave Kinnick a 3-1 lead in the shootout as Mari McDonald, Elisha Dareing and Kim Caliliw converted for the Red Devils. Michaela Atchley was the only Panther to score in the shootout, which ended after Anju Yamanaka failed to put her PK away. Kinnick will face Kubasaki in Thursday’s seminal. I got Kubasaki 2-1 over the Red Devils.
Defending champion American School In Japan takes on 2010 champ Seoul American in the other semifinal. ASIJ’s Joey Yamada will continue her solid play in the back, holding the Falcons scoreless. ASIJ 2-0.
Just when it looked like we had the top three seeds locked up on the boys’ side, Kadena came out of NOWHERE, winning its last three matches and earning the third seed. A glancing header from Kadena’s Nick Rogers in the waning seconds bounced around before finding its way to the back of the net, moving Kinnick down to the four seed.
Seoul American takes the top seed with 15 points, no surprise. A battered and bruised Christian Academy Japan side held on to the second seed with 13 points. Kadena’s hot streak puts them at No. 3 with 12 points. After a HUGE 2-0 upset earlier in the day over Seoul, which had already clinched the top seed,, Kinnick was unable to break through CAJ, take the No. 4 seed with 11 points. Kubasaki takes No. 5, Guam High No. 6 and Yokota, still seeking its first win, taking No. 7.
Thanks to sunshine the past two days, tomorrow’s boys’ matches will be played at Mike Petty Stadium, FINALLY.
Bring on Day 4!
Drawing up a list of records I thought might fall during this week’s Far East High School Track and Field Meet, I’m thinking most of them are a reach.
The athletes’ ears must have been burning. Or their eyes. But I mean, 11 Far East meet records fall on the first day? And seven of them in preliminaries, when all anybody is supposed to do is take the lead, then hold your position and “save it” for the finals?
Day 2 of tournament action and the injuries are starting to pile up. A horrible sight to see Guam High’s versatile former All-Island keeper/midfielder Melanie Strudthoff show up with the help of crutches after reinjuring a knee in yesterday’s afternoon match, as well as midfielder Tayler Kukes go down with a pulled hamstring.
Christian Academy Japan’s Gene Jeong suffered two, yes, two broken wrists against Yokota after attempting a bicycle kick while the Knights led the match 5-0. Tough break for CAJ, which seemed to find its form today.
Despite the injuries the futbol must continue, and boy, oh boy did we see some thrilling matches on day two! A scoreless battle between Kinnick and Kubasaki on the girls’ side ended with a flurry of chances, generating two unbelievable saves.
Kinnick’s Kaile Johnson was stoned on a breakaway by Dragons keeper Korina Martinez with five minutes before the final whistle. Martinez was outdone, however, after Emily Stith miraculously swatted away a point-blank shot from Kubasaki’s Stephanie Dowse. Stith’s right glove has become famous as of late, after denying American School In Japan’s Katey Helwick’s shot from six feet away in a match at Kinnick on May 11.
A Panther showdown between Yokota’s and Kadena’s girls ended 1-1 after a laser of a shot from Yokota’s Gaby Navarro found the upper right corner.
Heading to the boys’ action, CAJ and Seoul American put forth early candidates for the Golden Boot, awarded to the top goal scorer at tournament’s end. Seoul’s Josh Chung and David Voelker each tallied four goals, while CAJ’s Shuhei Tanaka and Kyle Smoker each netted four of their own after a 7-0 rout over Yokota.
Girl’s scoring leaders include Kiyomi Powell and Helwick from ASIJ each with two goals, while Mari McDonald’s four-goal performance for Kinnick against CAJ puts her out in front.
The boys will continue pool play throughout Wednesday, with the knockout stages starting Thursday morning. The conclusion of Tuesday brought with it the final pool play matches on the girls’ side, which means we have seeding for the first knockout round starting bright and early Wednesday morning.
From pool A:
A1- No surprise defending champs ASIJ earn the A1 seed with six points.
A2- Kadena beats out Yokota on goal differential.
A3- Yokota one goal short of the #2 seed.
A4- Guam High tallying just one point.
From pool B: Kubasaki, Kinnick, Seoul all with five points. Comes down to goal differential.
B1- Kubasaki +5
B2- Kinnick +4
B3- Seoul +1
B4- CAJ unable to get on the scoreboard
Wednesday’s knockout matches:
0800 ASIJ v. CAJ
1000 Kubasaki v. Guam
1200 Kadena v. Seoul
1400 Kinnick v. Yokota
See ya out there for Day 3! Oh, keep wishing for NO RAIN! ‘Twas beautiful today.
A tip of the hat to Matthew C. Perry Samurai boys soccer striker Tyelor Apple, whose three-goal performance in a 7-0 victory over Zama American gave him 62 for the season, topping by one the old Pacific single-season record of 61 set four years ago by Seoul Foreign’s Remco Rademaker.
But Apple felt a lot better earlier Tuesday, when his Samurai rallied from a 2-0 halftime deficit to tie defending Far East Boys Division II Tournament champion Yongsan International-Seoul 2-2.
“So good that we made that statement this morning,” Apple said. “We’re taking it one day at a time, focusing on tomorrow. We’re not in the finals until we get there.”
The Samurai took the second seed out of Pool B, while the Samurai got the top seed based on goal differential.
On the girls side, the big battle for top playoff seed came down to the Samurai and Daegu American, with Perry prevailing 3-1 thanks to goals by Apple’s sister, Sierra, and Sasha Shibazaki and Ghia Ulrey.
The baseball and girls softball tournament Division I playoff seeds took on an air of familiarity. Seven-time Okinawa district champion and 2010 Far East champion Kubasaki got the boys’ top seed, while Kadena’s girls, who had won nine straight Okinawa titles until earlier this month and won Far East in 2010, earned top playoff honors.
While the weather has been cooperating most everywhere else, rain turned MacArthur and Ranger Fields at Naval Air Facility Atsugi into slippery slopes, forcing the last games in each of the D-I and D-II pool-play round to be canceled. Turns out, neither were critical in determining playoff seeds, since the teams involved were to face each other anyway in the playoff opening rounds.
This is when it gets serious. Track and field starts in a few hours, too.
Upon graduation in 2010, former Kadena High School soccer striker Stanley Schrock, now a journalism major and starting soccer forward at Colorado Mesa University, takes his first stab at his stated goal upon leaving high school: Return to the Pacific and write stories about high school sports. Stan, take the stage, please!
With early rain and all pool play matches scheduled on one field (Kubasaki Upper for the boys, and Kadena Lower for the girls) it appeared as if Day 1 of the large schools Far East soccer tournaments would be a mud bath reminiscent of the previous two years, when the players almost had to swim across the so-called “pitch.”
The skies cleared, however, and the 15 squads representing eight different schools from around the Pacific put on a great display of futbol. Defending boys’ champion Seoul American picked up where they left off in last year’s tournament, downing the Knights of Christian Academy Japan with the help of one of the earliest goals in tournament history in just the second minute.
No real surprise results from the girls’ side, except of course for Kadena’s improbable 1-0 win over the defending champs from American School In Japan. The Panther boys wrapped up a great day for the Kadena faithful with a 1-0 upset over final-four-favorite Nile C. Kinnick, which got me thinking: Who’s on upset-alert entering Tuesday’s matches?
On the girls’ side: Yokota’s Coach Whipple better hope his good-luck shisa brings his girls extra strength, because they. are. going. to. need. it ... those scrappy Panthers from Guam High will pack it in defensively and look for a quick counter in the morning match; Yokota’s day could get tougher with Kadena just before noon, and you better believe the Kadena Black and Gold is riding some momentum after knocking the Mustangs off their championship high.
The boys from Seoul American and CAJ should be looking over their shoulder at the Panthers from Kadena, who will be fresh and hungry after playing just one match on Day 1; Kadena will use poor field conditions to suit their style of play and give Seoul a run for their money, but the Falcons’ speed up top will burn the Panthers late. CAJ’s Ryan Hollands will be too much for the Kadena defense as well, but don’t count out those Panthers.
How about them Dragons girls from Kubasaki? Skill all around the field and not to mention the duo of Elizabeth Fabila in the midfield with the fabulous freshman Marissa Mesquita up top? Whoo-wee! Dragon fans should be excited to see how far the girls can go this week.
I’m excited, the players are pumped, and the fans are hopeful. So let us all beg, yes I mean beg, for the rain to pretty please please PLEASE stay AWAY!
See ya on the pitch for Day 2!
Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer begins that marathon sprint known as Far East high school spring sports tournaments week.
Maybe there’s something to be said for solar eclipses and their effect on things down below. Or maybe it was a case of unimaginably horrid luck.
My take on who will win the Far East baseball tournaments:
-- Division I – With American School In Japan not there to defend its championship, this becomes a wild and wooly gold-medal chase. Either Okinawa school, Kadena or Kubasaki, is capable of making a run; so, too, is Nile C. Kinnick with the Ross Brothers in tow. Based on title experience, I’ll go with the Dragons, but by a couple of runs over Kadena in the final.
-- Division II – This may be the only cut-and-dried outcome (at least on paper) that we’ll likely see in any Far East tournament. Leo Austin, Michael Dzoba, Christian Wolfewicz, Tristan Jefferson and Robert D. Edgren’s Eagles will hang their first baseball banner in the gym.
Think these are incorrect? Sound off! Be true to your school, but remember: You've entered "THE" No-Hate Zone.
My take on who will win the Far East softball tournaments:
-- Division I – My guess is Okinawa will still prevail; just a question of whether it will be a green and white team, instead of black and gold. Michayla Robinson, two pitchers named Huezo and Nile C. Kinnick standing by in case one or the other falters; don’t expect it.
-- Division II – Until last Saturday, I’d thought it would be E.J. King in a walk … until Osan American surprised DODDS Korea champion Seoul American by six runs in the season’s final weekend. The Cobras will still win, but the Cougars will make them work for it.
Got an argument with these picks? Sound off! Be true to your school, but remember: You've entered "THE" No-Hate Zone. :)
My take on who will win the Far East soccer tournaments:
-- Boys Division I – The final between Christian Academy Japan and defending champion Seoul American should be a good one, with the Falcons prevailing 1-0 in overtime. Kubasaki and Nile C. Kinnick will battle for the third and fourth spots.
-- Girls Division I – What a battle royal that will be between Kinnick, Yokota, American School In Japan and Kubasaki for spots in the Final Four. Gut feeling, ASIJ will prevail over Kinnick 2-1, payback for that last regular-season match on May 11.
-- Boys Division I – Matthew C. Perry or Yongsan International-Seoul? Despite the Samurai having Tyelor Apple and an offense that blasts out goals the way a child goes through Pez packets, the Guardians are champions until somebody knocks them off.
-- Girls Division II – Injuries and championships go together at Osan American like Fred and Ginger, Lester and Earl, Burt Reynolds and Jerry Reed. This year will be no different. Stephanie McDole and Alex Hauter will prove their health as the Cougars bring fourth the title.
Any one of these in dispute in Sports Blog Nation's minds? Sound off! Be true to your school, but remember: You've entered "THE " No-Hate Zone.
Bruce Carrick, Stars and Stripes' track and field analyst and Pacific records gatekeeper at Athletic.net, examines the Far East meet distance events and who stands the best chance of winning the team title.
This group of three events plus the 3,200-meter relay consists of mostly the same subset of track athletes. One boy, Trevor Maggart of American School In Japan, and one girl, Amanda Henderson of Seoul American, are at the top of all three individual events.
Can they both come away as triple winners?
With no Far East tournament invitation cavalry coming, the American School In Japan baseball team, which some observers are calling the best in school history, took matters into their own hands, taking a season-ending trip to China – and are showing they’re just as dominant there as they were in the Kan-to.
Playing against Shanghai American, a member of the Asia-Pacific Activities Conference, the Mustangs swept a doubleheader, winning the first game 18-6 and the second 15-1.
As expected by most, the semifinal berths in the Pacific Sports Blog Far East baseball tournament go to the top four seeds.
Matthew C. Perry’s Cinderella run came to a halt against Kubasaki, while American School In Japan took Seoul American with ease. Nile C. Kinnick, meanwhile, outlasted Robert D. Edgren in a pitchers’ duel. Kadena had a struggle, needing a seventh-inning comeback to overcome St. Mary’s.
So far, Yokota’s Preston Brooks, Kubasaki’s Jarrett Mitchell, Tyrend White of Seoul American, Ronald Dogan and Stanley Speed of Yokota are the only entries in the 100. Speed faded in the Kanto Invitational finals, not even reaching his earlier best mark. This Far East event will reveal whether Mitchell`s wind aided electronic time can beat White's hand time – on paper, they are separated by one hundredth of a second. Far East will not apparently tell us who is best in the Pacific, with Rahman Cairnes of Okinawa Christian International not yet registered for the meet. The race is Brooks' barring something unforeseen.
Five girls are entered , with .82 seconds separating each of the top five seeds: Seoul American’s Kelsey Scott (12.44), Kadena’s Janika Caines, Tiesha Jones, Osan’s Davette Campbell and Kadena’s Kiana Caines (13:26). Kelsey, Tiesha and Davette are running their best now. Janika peaked in mid April, and Kiana’s recent trend profile is hard to determine from the variety of formats used to submit her marks. Tiesha and Davette’s momentum could help them overtake Janika.
Here’s a sneak preview of the Far East High School Track and Field Meet’s field events, as analyzed by Bruce Carrick, longtime Pacific track and cross-country observer and gatekeeper of results at Athletic.net. Far East is scheduled for May 23-24 at Yokota High School, with the 25th as a rain date:
“The Wall” and “The Bulldozer” corral the Mustangs – Katey Helwick could not have been more surprised or disappointed.
The American School In Japan forward stood point-blank away from netting the equalizer, five or six feet in front of the Nile C. Kinnick net and released a shot toward the far post that had “goal” written all over it.
“Permission denied,” Red Devils senior goalkeeper Emily “The Wall” Stith replied. Not with words, as much as with a full-out dive to her right and catching Helwick’s laser with her outstretched right hand.
Quarterfinal round is next here in the Pacific Sports Blog Nation Far East baseball tournament, and now we begin to see the ace armaments that each team has brought to the table in a bid to reach the Final Four.
One change at the top; Nos. 1 and 2 flip-flopped with each other. But that doesn't change the fact that Okinawa brings yet another strong entry to Far East in Division I next week. Install E.J. King as the favorite in Division II, but look out, for a Cougar (Osan American) just might be gaining on you:
1, Kubasaki, Okinawa. Champions at last, the Dragons won the best-of-three Okinawa Activities Council championship series over Kadena.
2, Kadena, Okinawa. May 12 is going to resonate in the Panthers' minds for the next nine days.
3, Nile C. Kinnick, Japan. Red Devils got better and better with every passing week; they're the best bet to give Okinawa a run for its money, if the pitching is there.
4, E.J. King, Japan. The D-II final against Osan American, which scored a rate two-game DODDS Korea sweep over the weekend, should be classic.
5, Seoul American. That 9-3 loss on Saturday at Osan could be the slap across the face with a wet squirrel the Falcons needed.
Hate like heck to call it the Far East asterisk tournament. But it is what it is. Question being, which DODDS team will raise the banner after the last out is recorded.
Little has changed since our first ratings on April 29. The Kanto Invitational demonstrated this clearly: It’s all about who brings the best and most balance to next week’s Far East meet:
1, American School In Japan. Trevor Maggart vs. Erik Armes won’t happen at this Far East. The former thus should clean up in the distance events.
With the Far East tournaments less than a week away, here’s how the top 10 might look if we were to have combined D-I and D-II tournaments in the same location (more on that in a future post).
1, Christian Academy Japan (5-0). Been awhile since Knights have visited the mountaintop; this might be their best chance.
Anybody remember Andre “A.J.” Watson of Kubasaki, who last year set the Pacific’s 100-meter dash record in 10.54 seconds and equaled the 200-meter mark of 21.4 set in 1977?
Look what he’s up to now. Watson last Saturday broke South Carolina’s 11-year-old state record in the 200, clocking a 21.16, in helping lead Whale Branch Early College High of Beaufort, S.C., to South Carolina’s 1-A championship.
Supporting him were former Osan American products Brian and Brandon Morton and Vishawn Burrage.
Kubasaski’s loss is Beaufort’s gain. Next up, Watson is being eyed by South Carolina, Georgia Southern and Coastal Carolina; Watson’s stated goal is to become a Gamecock. Stay tuned.
That’s why they play the games on the field, so the saying goes. Though the field of play in this tournament is one of the imagination, every now and then, a double-digit seed comes along and shocks the world when least expected.
That was my gut feeling when Round 1 of Pacific Sports Blog’s Far East High School Baseball Tournament of the mind was played (Friday).
Here’s how the first-round games turned out:
Game 2 – No. 5 Seoul American 6, No. 12 Yokota 1 – Chung Winchip struck out six and allowed only a solo home run by Panthers starter and loser Jesse Christmas. Alex McDonald doubled, tripled and drove in three runs for the Falcons, who advance to a quarterfinal battle with top-seeded American School In Japan.
Game 3 – No. 4 Nile C. Kinnick 8, No. 13 Daegu High 0. Donald Ross, the first punch in the Red Devils’ 1-2 combination, tossed a two-hitter (Sean and Ryan Lattanzi each had infield singles), walked none and struck out 14. Ross’ brother, Daniel, went 4-for-4 with two home runs and six RBI.
Game 4 – No. 8 Robert D. Edgren 2, No. 9 E.J. King 1 – In perhaps the most intriguing battle of the first round, Christian Wolfewicz broke up the Cobras’ Jessee Gorst’s no-hit bid with a solo homer in the seventh inning, and Tristan Jefferson followed with a walk-off blast. Ian Cockerel’s solo shot provided the Cobras their lone run. Eagles advance to face Red Devils in quarterfinals.
Game 6 – No. 11 Matthew C. Perry 2, No. 6 Guam High 0 – The aforementioned Eagmin hit a two-run homer in the second inning and took advantage of the Panthers’ rusty bats (Guam High hasn’t played since December), allowing no hits and no walks and just missing a perfect game when he hit Panthers starter and loser Eddie Rey Garza with a pitch in the sixth. Samurai now face No. 2 Kubasaki in the quarterfinals.
Game 7 – No. 3 Kadena 7, No. 14 Zama American 2 – Freshman flamethrower Justin Sego shut down the Trojans, save for Christian Venzlauskas, who batted 3-for-3 with two solo homers and a walk. Sego helped himself with two RBI doubles and Jared Paul went 3-for-4, just missing the cycle when grounded out in the fifth.
Game 8 – No. 7 St. Mary’s International 3, No. 10 Osan American 1 – The Titans overcame four errors and starter Sengjae Zhou staved off further damage by striking out 4 and walking none while allowing only a solo blast by Tyler Harding. Daiki Matsunaga was 2-for-4 with a three-run homer in the third inning for St. Mary’s, which advances to the quarterfinals against Kadena.
Matchups and pitching probables coming up this weekend.
Think these results don’t stand the test of the imagination? Particularly the Guam High-Matthew C. Perry game? Sound off! Be true to your school, but remember: You’ve entered “THE” No-Hate Zone.
It’s official: A new division structure, seven schools each in renamed groups, was announced Thursday in an e-mail received by Stars and Stripes from Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference president Daniel Hale of Yongsan International School-Seoul.
Unlike DODDS Pacific, which groups its schools by enrollment into Divisions I (large) and II (small schools), KAIAC divides theirs by competitive level, Hale said.
Here are the old KAIAC Division I and II alignments, which ends with the current school year:
Division I – Seoul American, Seoul Foreign, Seoul International, Yongsan International-Seoul, Gyeonggi Suwon International, Korea International, Osan American, Taejon Christian International and Daegu High.
Division II – International Christian-Uijongbu, Korea Kent Foreign, Centennial Christian, Indianhead International, International Christian-Pyongtaek and Asia-Pacific International.
Under the new system, the more competitive schools are grouped in what KAIAC calls its “Five-Cities Division,” since the schools are based in Uijeongbu, Seoul, the Pyeongtaek subdivision of Songtan where Osan American is located, Daejeon and Daegu. The lesser competitive schools are grouped in the “Tri-Cities Division,” including Seoul, Suweon and Pyeongtaek.
Five-Cities Division – Seoul American, Seoul Foreign, Taejon Christian International, Yongsan-International-Seoul, Daegu High, Osan American and International Christian-Uijongbu.
Tri-Cities Division – Seoul International, Korea International, International Christian-Pyongtaek, Centennial Christian, Korea Kent Foreign, Asia-Pacific International and Gyeonggi Suwon International.
Indianhead International will no longer exist after this school year, Hale said; he did not elaborate.
Moving ICS-Uijongbu to the higher division should have been done years ago. The Eagles have long dominated Division II in boys volleyball and boys soccer, enough that the latter merited an invitation to the Far East Division II soccer tournament.
But moving SIS, KIS and GSIS to the lower division? … That makes sense up to one point. Specifically, boys soccer. Especially the latter two schools.
GSIS in very short order has risen into a soccer powerhouse, behind the play of Danny Kwon and Jacob Son and the coaching of former TCIS star Andrew Wiese; the Knights won the KAIAC D-I regular-season title and earned top seed in the postseason tournament, which they also hosted.
Hiro Watanabe and the Tigers have been the only truly competitive program that SIS has fielded since their dynastic girls basketball team of the early 1990s. Yet despite a poor overall record, KIS has served as SIS’ kryptonite, beating the Tigers in three of their last four regular-season meetings.
But a school can’t remain in a setting in which most of its teams are not competitive simply for the want of one good team. “We were aware the change was coming; we’ll deal with it,” Wiese said.
That has to be a bitter pill to swallow for Wiese & Co., though. I’m guessing that GSIS, SIS and KIS will roll through the league for years to come, not necessarily in that order. And you can bet, all three will likely try to schedule non-league “friendly” matches with their Five-Cities brethren or Korean teams or whomever else would want to play them.
Latest installment of Far East High School Track and Field Meet analysis and predictions from Bruce Carrick, longtime Pacific cross-country and track observer and gatekeeper of meet and individual results at Athletic.net.
With less than two weeks until the Far East High School Track and Field Meet, there is still time for the unexpected. But participants have been selected and coaches are arranging their athletes for optimum results. Rules have capped the multi-event athlete to four events, and now we can make some slightly better predictions.
Individual events are the most stable; relays are the unknown element, as members are as not yet published. This is important because many marks during the season were set with the best available members, but now many of those athletes will be exhausted from their individual events or simply not available.
The big question: Whose well is deepest?
Based on the selections and already announced drops, with only the individual events, boys scoring is a virtual tie between American School In Japan and Nile C. Kinnick, with Yokota close behind. Kadena trails some distance back. Kubasaki, Seoul American, Zion Christian Academy and Okinawa Christian International make up the middle pack. Relays would seem to give Kinnick the edge, if they still have their best available. ASIJ and Yokota relay teams will likely widen the gap on t he rest of the field.
It will come down to who can get the most points: the Henderson sisters (Amanda and Pam of Seoul), Turner sisters (Chinyere and Pashence of Kadena), Caines sisters (Kiana and Janika of Kadena) or Stefani Loisel of Guam. If these ladies could enter more than 4 events, they would take the majority of meet points. Amanda Henderson and Loisel are capable of the most big point finishes. Individual event scores could result in a very tight race between Kadena, Seoul, Guam High, and ASIJ, in that order. Who has the most left to run the relays? I think ASIJ is the most balanced team and will have the most sources left for relays. It could vault them to the top.
More focus on individuals and individual races after the Saturday’s Kanto Invitational at Yokota.
“C’mon, Allie! Amanda’s right on your shoulder!”
The shouts and yells from across the track were very much audible to Allie Reichenberg, the Kubasaki superstar junior distance specialist. Although she was well in front in the 3,000-meter run, her teammates wanted her to push harder, and try to imagine reigning Far East cross-country champion Amanda Henderson of Seoul American on her right shoulder.
Her big day was just beginning. She would go on to run four events. And win all four. In district meet record time. And if she hadn’t done so before, stamped her name all over the lists of favorites in the Far East meet later this month at Yokota.
3,000, 11:29.87. Old record, 12:07. More than 37 seconds!
3,200 relay, 10:41.11. 5.89 seconds better than the old mark.
1,500, 5:09.34. Old record 5:26. Killed that one.
800, wanted to skip it but decided to run anyway. 2:33.34. Old record 2:37.
“She isn’t just beating records; she’s slaughtering them,” teammate and reigning Far East boys cross country champion Erik Armes said, shaking his head.
But the cheers and handclapping had barely died down at last Saturday’s Okinawa Activities Council district track and field meet’s closing ceremony when a grain of data from a track meet hundreds of miles north surfaced.
It was at Camp Casey’s Schoonover Bowl in South Korea. And it was almost as if she had watched every last second of Reichenberg’s record day.
For Henderson turned right around and ran the 800 in 2:26 in the last DODDS Korea meet of the season.
“Good on Okinawa, but is it good enough for Far East,” Henderson probably meant to say.
Made me long imagine what the 3,000, 1,500 and 800 races will be like come Far East; anybody who was at the Mike Petty Memorial Meet in April on Okinawa remembers that sprint to the tape in the 3,000 that resembled the home stretch of the 200.
And it won’t be just between those two: don’t for a minute discount Abigail Wall of Yokota, or Alison Bowman of Guam High, or Michelle Stolle of American School In Japan and goodness knows who else.
That Yokota track should be perfect for record-setting, and not just by the two long-distance runners.
And perhaps for sprinters Rahman Cairnes of Okinawa Christian International and Jade Cummings of Zion Christian Academy, who rewrote the 200-meter records, and Zion’s boys relay team, which rewrote the 3,200 record as well.
These folks didn’t just beat records. They took several slabs of C-4, a detonator and some wire to the record book and turned the thing into so much mulch.
If the Pacific soccer boys single-season goal-scoring record is going to be broken, it will probably have to wait until the Far East Boys Division II Tournament at Camp Humphreys, South Korea. Tyelor Apple, the Matthew C. Perry striker finished the regular season with 57 goals, the last during a two-match road sweep of E.J. King; they have one more tune-up match with Hiroshima San Frecce U-16 team before hitting the road for Korea.
Justin Sego. Jared Paul. What a breakout game Kadena’s baseball team had last Saturday, edging Kubasaki 8-7 on freshman Brandon Steffins’ two-run walk-off single at Kadena’s Four Diamonds Complex. The Panthers had batted a collective .152 against the Dragons their first four meetings; Kadena went 14-for-29 and Sego and Paul each went 4-for-4 with a combined two homers and six RBIs. Should make this weekend’s Okinawa Activities Council best-of-three championship series interesting.
Kubasaki’s girls, meanwhile, need to recapture the mojo that led to victories in their first two games over Kadena this season, or else the Panthers will come away with their 10th straight island championship.
Among the places to be this weekend are Yokosuka Naval Base, at 5:30 p.m. Friday, where American School In Japan puts its eight-year Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools girls soccer title streak on the line at Nile C. Kinnick. Mari, Kalie, De’Asia, Em and the Bulldozer against Joey Yamada and the Mighty Mustangs.
Then, there’s the Kanto Invitational track meet at Yokota, the one-day dress rehearsal for Far East. And hopefully a preview of it as well. Green flag flies at 9:30 a.m. See y’all there.
Still getting a trickle of e-mails and other communications from folks out there castigating my stand (or lack thereof, as one pithily put it) over DODDS Pacific’s not inviting American School In Japan back to defend its Far East High School Baseball Tournament title.
Thus, I plan to do something about it. It won’t be a Far East tournament per se, but to paraphrase the old AT&T advertisements, it will be the next-best thing to being at one:
Welcome to Pacific Sports Blog’s own version of a Far East High School Baseball Tournament. A single-elimination, 14-team all-comers tournament, Divisions I and II combined.
Not only will ASIJ be welcome at Sports Blog Nation’s own baseball fest of the imagination, so, too, will St. Mary’s International, which also hoped for an invitation to Far East which wasn’t forthcoming.
Borrowing from the Asia-Pacific Activities Conference, Sports Blog will group the 14 teams into the Asia Division and the Pacific Division. At the top of the heaps, the winners of the first two Far East tournaments, ASIJ and Kubasaki.
Teams seeded 3 through 14 will play first-round games at the site of the higher seed, as will the teams in the quarterfinals. First-round games will for the most part pit teams that have not played each other this season.
The semifinals and championship games will be played at the alternate home site of the tournament’s overall No. 1 seed, American School In Japan, which plays most of its home games at Fuchu Civic Stadium.
Here’s how the first round of games looks, along with probable starters and a brief synopsis of what may take place:
Game 1—No. 1 American School In Japan, bye
Game 2—No. 5 Seoul American (Chung Winchip) vs. No. 12 Yokota (Jesse Christmas) – Home field and deep pitching staff overcomes youthful Panther squad.
Game 3—No. 4 Nile C. Kinnick (Donald Ross) vs. No. 13 Daegu High (Ryan Lattanzi) – With its bevy of arms, Red Devils slotted to reach Final Four vs. ASIJ.
Game 4—No. 8 Robert D. Edgren (Leo Austin) vs. No. 9 E.J. King (Jessee Gorst) – Perhaps the most intriguing first-round game; two very strong pitchers going at it hammer-and-tongs.
Game 5—No. 2 Kubasaki, bye
Game 6—No. 6 Guam High (Eddie Rey Garza) vs. No. 11 Matthew C. Perry (Shawn Eagmin) – A super-human performance by Eagmin might not necessarily be needed; Panthers haven’t played since December.
Game 7—No. 3 Kadena (Justin Sego) vs. No. 14 Zama American (Michael Torres) – Sego’s arm will keep the Panthers in it, but they need their bats to stay hot.
Game 8—No. 7 St. Mary’s International (Sengjae Zhou) vs. No. 10 Osan American (Tyler Harding) – Young Titans have the talent, but need to bring the leather if they expect to win.
What does Sports Blog Nation think? Is this all a bunch of hooey or can this work? Sound off! Be true to your school, but remember: You’ve entered THE “No-Hate Zone.”
I’d hoped to have the official list of qualifiers for the Far East High School Track and Field Meet May 23-25 at Yokota, but the release of that list has been delayed, along with that of the minutes from last month’s Far East Athletics Council meeting at Yokota, DODDS Pacific athletics coordinator Don Hobbs said in a brief phone call Wednesday.
We should have the official qualifiers list by the weekend, Hobbs said; there were some “discrepancies,” he said, that need to be addressed before that release. He did not elaborate.
Kinda tells me that the selection system for Far East track and field is a work in progress, and will likely be streamlined in one form or another come next year. Keep in mind, the Far East football playoffs have been in living evolution since their inception in 2005; I don’t expect something like track and field, with its mass of requirements and requisites, to be any different.
The FEAC meeting minutes still need to be reviewed by acting DODDS Pacific director Steve Bloom; hoping to get those in a few days. The FEAC schedule for school year 2012-13 might not be made public until early June, Hobbs cautioned.
This in from Bruce Carrick, longtime Kanto Plain-Pacific track and field and cross-country observer and records gatekeeper at Athletic.net, offering his thoughts on who might show it out at Far East.
The big thing besides who will be selected is which events coaches will decide to drop for their athletes who’ve qualified for more than four events. “It will have a cascade effect,” Carrick said.
Just my quick eyeball, involving the inscrutable matching of hand times and FAT timed regions. Saturday’s Kanto Invitational at Yokota will render much more clarity.
In the 100, 200 and 400, men and women, pretty good mix from the four regions, though the largest league (Kanto) has the weakest field, depending heavily on Nile C. Kinnick with a little help from American School In Japan and Yokota. Okinawa, Guam High and Seoul American will have the majority of entrants.
In the 800 and 1,500, will the Zion Christian Academy boys break up the Kanto party? On the girls side, nearly every school has one entry in the hunt to catch Seoul American’s Amanda Henderson.
3,000, Kubasaki’s and Kadena’s boys and girls make a strong appearance, but who can catch ASIJ’s Trevor Maggart and Henderson? Kubasaki’s Erik Armes is injured and won’t run at Far East. Can Kubasaki’s Allie Reichenberg close the gap on Amanda?
110 hurdles is another Kanto boys event, led by Yokota’s Fred Gustafsson (Kinnick’s Dustin Kimbrell close behind), but the 100 girls hurdles flows to Guam and Okinawa. Guam High’s Stefani Loisel is the one to beat.
300 hurdles, a Kanto-Okinawa scramble among the boys (Kadena’s Derrick Taylor, Kubasaki’s Columbus Wilson, Gustafsson and Kimbrell); there are so many girls from Okinawa, some may be left off to make room for Guam to gain another entrant.
Relays, with 10 teams to be invited in each race, most schools will have representation. Despite weakness in the sprints, Kanto boys lead the 400 relay, but Kadena has a solid lead on the girls’ side. The boys 1,600 tilts to the top three from Kanto, and ASIJ is the pride of the girls’ side. The 3,200 is all Okinawa with Zion’s boys and Kubasaki’s girls way out in front.
The throws feature very closely matched competition except for discus, in which Zama American’s Roland Cote and Seoul American’s Mecca Perkins are clearly the class of their fields.
In the shot put, Guam High, Zama and Seoul will score a lot of points. Daegu High will join the three above schools in the girls’ discus competition, but Okinawa will be a major factor for the boys (Craig Hollins of Zion, Kadena’s Gabe Ahner, Kubasaki’s Chris Schehl).
The jumps belong to ASIJ’s multiple entrants except girls high jump (Yokota leads here, and Zion’s Arrianna Guerra will challenge). Other schools joining them will likely be from Kanto, except for Guam’s strong girls long jump contenders.
Loisel will get tested by ASIJ’s Liz Thornton in the long jump. If Loisel is weakened by her chase of the two hurdles crowns, two sprints, the 400 relay and shot put; to the relief of all, she’ll have to abandon at least three of those pursuits.
Joining Loisel on the “qualified for too many events” list are Zion’s Jade Cummings, Kadena’s Janika Caines, Keith Smith and Chinyere Turner, Carydaliz Fontanez of Kinnick, ASIJ’s Jenna Doyno, Henderson, Wilson, Yokota’s Preston Brooks and Seoul American’s Tyrend White. The vacated slots for these athletes alone will open up 20 more slots for others. While we’re at it, why not add the pentathlon to the meet?
Team scores are much too opaque at this point, except that St. Mary’s International and Christian Academy Japan will likely join Robert D. Edgren and Okinawa Christian International somewhere with Zama, Daegu and Osan American for low-point honors. I expect a great battle between Kinnick, Kadena, Kubasaki, Zion, Seoul American and Guam High in each gender. Again, this week’s Kanto Invitational will reveal a lot about what will happen at Far East.
He took third place in singles and sixth overall in last year’s All-Armed Forces bowling championships. Tommy Meinhart is hoping to take things several steps further over the next couple of weeks.
“This year, it’ll be a different story,” Meinhart said Sunday, his last league competition at Camp Foster’s bowling center before traveling to Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, where he’ll take his 215 to 225 pins per game to the latest All-Armed Forces roll-offs.
Armed Forces includes singles, doubles and team competition. Meinhart and the Marines hope to take down defending team champion Air Force, but also improve on something the Leathernecks had not done in eight years, which was win the team event.
The 35-year-old gunnery sergeant has been bowling since he was 5 years old back in his youth in Houston. He joined the Marine Corps in 1998, and in addition to bowling showed a propensity for softball, making the All-Marine team which won the All-Armed Forces in 1999 and also in 2000.
But from 2002, deployments began taking their toll and Meinhart had to pretty much shut down all athletic activity to concentrate on that for which he enlisted – defend the country in far-flung locales ranging from Mosul to Kandahar.
Meinhart came to Okinawa in 2009 and promptly broke his left (non-throwing) hand during a company-level softball tournament at Kadena Air Base. That brought him back inside to the air-conditioned comfort of the island’s bowling centers, where he’s been a fixture ever since.
He bowls in Foster’s Sunday evening league and also in Japanese leagues off-base three nights a week, and six times has traveled to Japan’s main islands representing Okinawa in Japan Bowling Congress tournaments. So proficient he became – he’s rolled four 300 games, three off base and one on base – that in 2010, he applied for and got accepted to the All-Marine team.
“I like going back to not only bowl and compete in the Armed Forces, but to represent the Marine Corps,” said Meinhart, who at one time was a recruiter and regularly puts those persuasive skills to use, telling younger Marines who prefer to camp out in front of the computer about the benefits of being an All-Marine athlete.
“I try to get them to compete in sports, tell them that almost all sports have an All-Marine team and you can compete and go as high as the international or Olympic level,” Meinhart said.
As an added bonus, Meinhart’s family is planning to drive the seven to eight hours from Houston to San Antonio to catch him in action in the All-Armed Forces.
During a visit last month to Matthew C. Perry High School on what’s become an ever-changing Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, I’d heard of discussion revolving around the name of the school, and a possible change of that name along with the mascot, the Samurai.
Such a change would coincide with the opening of a handful of new schools on Iwakuni, part of a major buildup that’s already seen the opening of a new off-shore runway, and will see the addition of a commercial air terminal, revamping of the school’s and base’s athletics fields and much more in the coming years.
Administration said it was leaning toward the name of a Medal of Honor winner, or a legendary general (I thought Lewis Burwell “Chesty” Puller would be a good one, but administration said they’d passed on that) for the school’s new name; no mascot ideas had been floated yet.
A handful of folks at Iwakuni apparently feel that the use of Samurai for a mascot is an insult to the Japanese culture, just as people at Yokosuka Naval Base in the late 1990s wanted to see Nile C. Kinnick High School abandon the Red Devil (also a Japanese cultural symbol) as a mascot for being sacrilegious. The name Seahawks was floated as a replacement, but in the end, YoHi alumni pushed back hard enough that the change never took place.
And if reaction on Facebook is any indicator, Perry alumni are just as furious about any possible school name or mascot change. A petition is being circulated on Facebook, created by Perry alumnus Marcy Banks, and was signed by 13 people in its first hours (DISCLOSURE: I signed it, too).
It’s pretty easy to see why alumni would be angered over such a move. Their high-school years are associated with a particular school name and mascot indelibly for the rest of their lives. It connects and bonds their fellow alums, it’s in fact a symbol of that very connection and bonding, the same way John F. Kennedy High School of Bellmore and the Cougar will be part of my life forever.
But what does SportsBlog Nation think? Should Perry keep the name and the Samurai, or would a change be fruitful and good for the school and the community? Sound off!
Not too long ago, Sports Illustrated published its bucket list of 12 favorite sports venues according to its writer and reporter staff, along with a description of each venue or games that take place in that venue, and what it means in that particular sport. Caution: You need an SI subscription to read this link.
The list of iconic sports halls include fabled Wrigley Field and Notre Dame Stadium; events include the British Open at the shrine of golf, St. Andrews’ olde course; any Green Bay Packers game at Lambeau Field; and a day at the All-England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, host of The Championships (known in the U.S. as Wimbledon).
Which got me to thinking: Pacific folk, particularly long-timers and old Asia hands (such as myself), might have their own bucket list of places they’ve gone to view sports, and any special memory they might have attached to it.
So, let’s create our own bucket list.
And let it range widely and wildly.
Maybe you saw Ben Johnson’s steroid-tainted 9.79 100-meter dash in the XXIV Summer Olympic Games in Seoul at Chamshil Stadium in October 1988. One of the World Cup soccer matches in Japan or South Korea in 2002? Mike Tyson getting knocked out by James “Buster” Douglas at Tokyo Dome in February 1990? Or if you’re really sporting a full head of grey, how about Muhammad Ali battling Joe Frazier in the legendary Thrilla in Manila in September 1975 at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Philippines? The Air Force’s Rick Roberts fighting then-WBA lightweight champion Takanori Hatakeyama to that memorable draw in February 2001 at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan?
Or if you’re an interservice or high school sports trivia buff like me, maybe you saw Colbey Hicks’ driving layup, the last points in Kadena’s 70-69 double-overtime victory over Kubasaki in the Far East High School Boys Division I Basketball Tournament on Feb. 29, 1992, at Kadena’s Panther Pit? Lynette Munsell’s buzzer-beating jumper as Nile C. Kinnick brought down pre-tournament favorite Kadena in the Girls D-I Tournament in May 1991 at old Thew Gym, Yokosuka Naval Base? Or the many great football games at Yokota’s old and new Bonk Fields (take your pick)? Or the two classic Seoul American-Kadena D-I football clashes in 2006 and 2008 at Seoul American’s Sims Field? Or the shootout that was Michael Spencer and Zama American’s 46-38 Division II football triumph at Kelly Field, Camp Walker, South Korea?
Chime in. A favorite game, a favorite venue, a favorite player or play.
Anybody up for some company-level softball this weekend? The Yard Busters women’s open softball team is putting together its 2nd annual “Ball Buster” fund-raiser tournament. It’s for company-level and intramural teams around Okinawa, and serves as a fund raiser for the Yard Busters, who’ll travel to Korea in late May for the Pacificwide Open Tournament.
The “Ball Buster” tournament features a combined round-robin and single-elimination format, and is open to company-level, intramural and co-ed teams. It takes place Saturday and Sunday at the Kadena Air Base Four Diamonds complex. Entry fee is $125. Entry deadline is Friday. Plenty of prizes, trophies and giveaways. For information, phone Kelly Rippy at 632-9993 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s much like driving a NASCAR Sprint Cup car at full throttle the first 180 laps of a 200-lap race, then skidding to a halt, running a 2 mph for the next 10 laps, then going full bore again the last 10.
Seoul American, Osan American and Daegu High face a lengthy three-week break between the end of the Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference Division I seasons and the start of Far East tournaments due to the Advanced Placement testing period. It begins on Monday and lasts two weeks.
KAIAC constitution firmly discourages in-season competition during AP testing, but considers Far East to be part of the season. Problem is, no money was budgeted by DODDS Korea for the soccer teams to even get together for a friendly jamboree so they can at least get touches and keep their games sharp.
What can be done about it? What should be done about it? Click here to read their story.