Pacific edition, Saturday, June 13, 2009

Most Pacific prep soccer watchers knew what Zama American had in Aubrey and Mallarie Ashliman. But Nile C. Kinnick hurdler-turned-sprinter Donavan Brown’s achievements came out of the blue.

The three share Stars and Stripes Athlete of the Quarter honors for the spring season. The Ashlimans combined for 86 goals and 43 assists in pacing the Trojans to the first Far East Class AA Tournament title in school history. Brown went unbeaten in hurdles this season and paced the Red Devils to their best boys team finish in five years.

Brown "isn’t your normal athlete," his coach, Al Garrido, said of the speedster he terms a "soft-spoken yet motivated athlete."

"He’s probably one of the most modest individuals you will find. But when he steps on the track and prepares to attack any event he is entered for — watch out."

Beginning the season as a "decent" hurdler, Brown was asked by Garrido to step in as a 100- and 200-meter sprinter. Brown promptly won his first 100 race.

He went unbeaten in hurdles, broke the Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools 400 hurdles mark and in the May 16 Kanto Invitational won three gold medals and a bronze for 36 team points.

Kinnick’s boys placed third in the league finals and second in the Kanto Invitational, their best finish since 2004.

Aubrey Ashliman (45 goals, 10 assists), a junior, earned tournament MVP honors, and Mallarie (41-33), a sophomore, won the Golden Boot with nine goals. Zama won its title by outgunning two-time Class AA runner-up and host Kubasaki 3-2 in a penalty-kick shootout in the title match.

That two-pronged assault, helped by a solid supporting cast, helped Zama to a school-record 24-4-4 mark, best in DODDS-Japan and second behind American School In Japan in the Kanto standings.

"If I want ball control and a little more defense, I go with Aubrey. If I want speed and ball handling, I go with Mallarie," coach Rogers Pitts said. "Aubrey provides leadership, a complete game, confidence, maturity. Mallarie, there’s a fire inside her. If you tick her off, she goes to another level and it doesn’t stop the rest of the game. Any college would be lucky to have either of them."

Other spring season awards

Coach of the quarter: Not only did Chris Anderson lead Matthew C. Perry’s girls to their second Class A soccer final in three years, he took in the children of science teacher Brian Kuzak, who suffered a stroke, for more than a month while coaching, teaching, fundraising and taking care of his team and family.

Team of the quarter: The third time proved to be the charm for Osan American’s girls soccer team. Playing four matches in nine hours, the Cougars (23-5-3) came out of the loser’s bracket to double-dip Perry and win their first Class A title since 2006, after suffering heartbreaking exits the previous two years.

Program of the quarter: ASIJ track and field swept the boys and girls league and Kanto Invitational team titles, setting seven league records along the way. The rebuilding baseball team finished second in the Kanto league and tournament standings.

Track and field athletes of the quarter: Aside from Brown, Zion Christian Academy’s Sarah Wilson dominated the Mike Petty Memorial meet in April with four golds, including the 400 meet record, then won three golds in the Okinawa Activities Council district finals. Then ASIJ’s Gwen Thornton took over, setting 400 and 1,600 relay marks and taking four golds in the Kanto Invitational, a week after winning four league finals golds.

Softball player of the quarter: Senior third baseman Shannon Scott earned Most Outstanding Player honors in pacing Kadena to the first DODDS-Japan tournament to welcome out-of-area teams. Scott and the Panthers lost just once the entire season in capturing their seventh straight OAC district title.

Baseball player of the quarter: Senior Sean Durham of St. Mary’s International led the Titans to an unbeaten Kanto season, the Kubasaki Spring Fling and Kanto Invitational Tournament titles, earning MOP honors in the latter.

Soccer players of the quarter: Perry’s Karla Stroud scored a Pacific-best 48 goals, and even stepped in the net to fill in for injured keeper Kate Cutshall when needed. In a crowded boys field, junior David Kim (23 goals, 12 assists) helped Yongsan International-Seoul repeat its boys Class A title.

Play of the quarter: Zama girls goalkeeper Deanne Polaski ensured the Trojans’ first Class AA title with three big saves during the penalty-kick shootout against Kubasaki.

Game of the quarter: Kadena leads Kubasaki 4-2 with two out in the bottom of the sixth inning of Game 2 in the OAC district finals. Then in shocking fashion, the Dragons pour 13 runs across the plate to win by the run rule, 15-4.

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Dave Ornauer has been employed by or assigned to Stars and Stripes Pacific almost continuously since March 5, 1981. He covers interservice and high school sports at DODEA-Pacific schools and manages the Pacific Storm Tracker.

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