Far East H.S. Athletes of the Quarter: Zama’s Quallio, Osan’s Baldevia go to top of list
Given his Florida pedigree and the way he exploded onto the track scene last spring, Zama American junior Andrew Quallio’s Far East cross country performance last month was to be expected.
Not so the Osan American girls volleyball team. Young, inexperienced and given little chance against the dominant Far East Class A international powers of recent years, junior Celine Baldevia and the Cougars shocked the field by winning their first title since 2001.
For their efforts, Quallio and Baldevia were selected Stars and Stripes Athletes of the Quarter for the Pacific’s fall sports season.
Quallio went unbeaten this season, becoming the first DODDS runner to win a Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools championship since 1997. He ran the fastest time of the season in the region, 15:09 at Iwakuni, Japan, and won the first Far East gold medal in Zama history.
“When the races are over a mile, he simply dominates the field,” Zama coach Mitch Moellendick said of Quallio, who transferred last spring from Florida, where he finished ninth in the 2006 4A championship.
He set school records in the mile and 2-mile, setting the stage for his dominating fall season, capped by the Far East gold medal won on Nov. 5 at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, in 16:44, nearly a minute faster than runner-up Brant Casteel (17:43) of Kadena.
“He’s one of the hardest-working boys I’ve ever had,” Moellendick said.
Baldevia, all of 5-foot-4, had 219 spike kills in 644 attacks, 82 service aces, 13 block points, 170 defensive digs and 268 set assists.
The Cougars went 14-5 in Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference play and 23-6 overall, capturing the Class A title by defeating Morrison Christian Academy of Taiwan 25-21, 25-21, 13-25, 25-10. Baldevia was also selected tournament Most Valuable Player.
“Celine makes everyone feel important, to the team and to her,” junior teammate Shayna Heron said. “Celine is a great athlete who works hard and encourages everyone to try their hardest.”
The rest of Stars and Stripes’ fall sports season awards:
¶ Coach of the Quarter: Robert D. Edgren football coach Chris Waite continues to build a powerhouse. The Eagles have won eight of their last 11 games and two straight Class A titles, and they nearly ended Yokota’s Pacific-record regular-season winning streak.
¶ Teams of the Quarter: Christian Academy In Japan lost one match all season and won its second Girls Class AA Volleyball Tournament title in three years. Kadena football, playing just four games, captured its first Class AA football title.
¶ Program of the Quarter: Kadena with its football title, its fourth Far East cross country team title in six years and a second-place Far East tennis tournament team title.
¶ Most Improved Program: Besides CAJ’s girls volleyball title, the boys tennis team won Kanto for the first time in 33 years and the girls tied for the title for the first time in 10.
¶ Most Improved Teams: Daegu American football went from four straight winless seasons to a Class A title game berth. Nile C. Kinnick girls volleyball went from sub-.500 in 2006 to a 14-8 overall mark and a fourth-place Kanto finish, its highest since 1996.
¶ Cross country runners of the quarter: While Quallio made Zama history, freshman Gee Mi Jorde helped Kinnick become only the second school to win back-to-back individual gold medals. Senior Anna Novick, a Navy civilian dependent attending St. Maur International in Yokohama, broke a 14-year Kanto record and became the first girl to break 13 minutes on the Tama Hills Recreation Center’s 2.1-mile course, clocking a 12:58 on Oct. 13.
¶ Tennis players of the quarter: Sophomores Kyle Sprow of Kadena and Kennedy Allen of Seoul American won school-first Far East tournament singles titles. Senior Kanoka Hayashi of American School In Japan completed her third straight unbeaten Kanto season without dropping a set; CAJ sophomore Miles Peterson did likewise for two straight Kanto boys seasons.
¶ Football players of the quarter: Ernest Carr of Kadena had only 592 yards on 66 carries, but that was in just four games. Over 10 games, that would have equated to 1,480 yards. Yokota senior Anthony McNeill leaves with school records of 3,511 yards and 39 TDs on 486 carries.
¶ Volleyball players of the quarter: Baldevia and CAJ senior Kelsey Masuda captured Far East tournament MVP honors. Seoul Foreign juniors Ariel Rhoda and Brittney Rader led the Crusaders to a second-place Asia-Pacific Activities Conference finish.
¶ Streak of the quarter: Yokota football extended its Pacific-record regular-season winning streak to 48.
¶ Plays of the quarter: Junior cornerback Johnell Alexander returned an interception for a touchdown and set up a second TD with another pickoff to lift Edgren to its second straight Class A football title 27-6 at Daegu American.
The nominees ...
x-Andrew Quallio, junior, cross country, Zama American, Japan.x-Gee Mi Jorde, freshman, cross country, Nile C. Kinnick, Japan.x-Kyle Sprow, sophomore, tennis, Kadena, Okinawa.x-Kennedy Allen, sophomore, tennis, Seoul American.x-Celine Baldevia, junior, volleyball, Osan American, South Korea.x-Kelsey Masuda, senior, volleyball, Christian Academy In Japan.Kanoka Hayashi, senior, tennis, American School In Japan.Gwen Thornton, junior, volleyball, American School In Japan.Miles Peterson, sophomore, tennis, Christian Academy In Japan.Robert Fry, junior, cross country, Guam High.Rey Tenorio, senior, football, Guam High.Helen Schrock, senior, volleyball, Kadena, Okinawa.Ernest Carr, senior, football, Kadena, Okinawa.Brandon Harris, sophomore, football, Kadena, Okinawa.Vince Coronado, senior, football, Kadena, Okinawa.Anna Novick, senior, cross country, St. Maur International, Japan.Avianca Manning, senior, volleyball, Seoul American.Olivia Wenzel, senior, cross country, Seoul American.Chris Paek, senior, tennis, Seoul American.Ariel Rhoda, junior, volleyball, Seoul Foreign.Brittany Rader, junior, volleyball, Seoul Foreign.Kenny Koo, senior, volleyball, Taejon Christian International.Anthony McNeill, senior, football, Yokota, Japan.
x-automatically nominated for earning individual championship or Most Valuable Player honors in a Far East tournament.