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Shiori KanekoVolleyball

Yokota, Japan

Last week: Had 29 spike kills to lead the Panthers to victory in their first two matches of the Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools season.

Kaneko, a senior and three-year starter at outside hitter, put down 18 kills in Yokota’s season-opening 25-23, 23-25, 25-15, 25-20 triumph Friday over Yokohama International. She followed that with 11 kills as Yokota held off Nile C. Kinnick 25-23, 17-25, 25-14, 12-25, 15-8.

The two victories, and Kaneko’s role in them, were important, coach Troy Oliver said, for a young team coming off a school-best fifth-place Far East Class AA (large schools) finish last November on Okinawa. Kaneko is the team’s only returning starter.

“She was hitting all her sets, low, high and sideways,” Oliver said. “Even better, though, was her defense. I really need her to pick up everything when she’s in the back row on this rebuilt team, and she did exactly that this weekend.”

Billy GrovesCross country

Seoul American High school

Last week: Took first place in the Falcons’ first meet of the Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference season on Saturday. The senior completed the 3.1-mile course at Camp Hialeah in Pusan in 18 minutes, 44 seconds, 38 seconds ahead of teammate and runner-up Sean Brown. Seoul American beat Pusan American 16-45 and topped Taegu American 18-43.

Groves transferred during the summer from Taegu, where he led the Warriors to a surprising sixth-place finish last November in the Far East meet at Misawa Air Base, Japan. His goals, coach Clark Bean said, are to finish in the top three in Far East and lower his personal-best time to 17:40.

“Billy brings a very strong work ethic to the team and inspires his teammates,” said Bean of Groves, who plans to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point next year. “We are happy to have him at Seoul American.”

— Selected by Stars and Stripes staff

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