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It’s been six years since Yokota High School staged a major Far East sports tournament. Too long, in the eyes of principal Gary Gerstner.

“It’s time for us to step up,” he said Wednesday, when the Department of Defense Education Activity-Pacific interscholastic activities schedule was released.

Yokota will host the most activities of any school — four, including Far East wrestling Feb. 12-14, 2004, and Class AA boys soccer April 27-May 1, 2004.

Yokota hasn’t held a Far East tournament since hosting Class AA boys basketball in February 1997. The school has hosted the Far East cheerleading camp-clinic-competition the past two years.

Major renovations to the base’s billeting and athletic fields have prevented Yokota from staging other tournaments the last six years.

Since the turn of the millennium, the installation has opened a four-story Kanto Lodge billeting facility and middle school, while the high school dedicated a sports facility, with two soccer fields and a softball diamond.

Okinawa’s Kubasaki was handed three events, including Far East tennis Oct. 30-Nov. 1 and Class AA girls basketball for the fourth straight year Feb. 16-21.

“I’m going to be really busy,” said Don Hobbs, Kubasaki’s main tournament director, who’ll also put together the Far East speech arts festival the week after Class AA basketball.

Archrival Kadena gets the Class AA girls volleyball back for the first time since the 1993-94 school year on Nov. 10-15, with the final scheduled the same day as the DODEA-Japan Rising Sun football championship, which returns to Okinawa this fall.

After two years at Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station in Japan, the Class A soccer tournaments will move. The boys event is scheduled April 29-May 1 at Taegu, while the girls get together April 29-May 1 in Pusan.

Guam High has hosted a Far East function every year since the school opened in 1997. But it won’t have one in 2003-04, as the island continues to recover from December’s Super Typhoon Pongsona.

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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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