FUTENMA MARINE CORPS AIR STATION, Okinawa — The jumping ability of Kubasaki senior spiker Shanon Sumter has made the 5-foot-10 middle blocker a topic of conversation in this week’s Far East High School Girls Class AA (large schools) Volleyball Tournament.

Sumter is the hitting and blocking leader of the Dragons, who are fighting for fifth place in the tournament’s consolation bracket. On Wednesday, she struck 27 spike kills and tallied nine block points.

But it’s her ability to get her upper arms high over the net that had opposing coaches talking.

“I just jump,” she said. “And it’s high, so it’s good. I think it’s all the candy I eat.”

“She adds a totally different dimension to the team with her athleticism,” coach Terry Chumley said. Sumter’s thunderous spike kills and authoritative blocks “fire up her teammates when she performs well.”

“She’s a great asset to the team,” said junior setter Erin Foote. “We set our tempo to her. Almost like setting a watch. I’m confident setting to her because I know she can kill it.”

Osan’s Nurse stands tall among small schools

CAMP WALKER, South Korea — If Sumter is Kubasaki’s “big thing,” sophomore middle blocker Margaret Nurse could be the “next big thing” for Korea’s Osan American Cougars.

Nurse helped the Cougars to the fourth seed in the Far East Class A (small schools) Tournament double-elimination playoffs, which began Wednesday at the Kelly Sports and Fitness Center at Taegu’s Camp Walker.

Though not much of a jumper, at 6-foot-2, Nurse is a formidable foe at the net. She blocked 18 shots and accounted for 35 kills the first two days of the tournament.

The best may be yet to come for Nurse and a young Osan squad, according to coach Brian Swenty. In a year or so, he said, the team — with sophomore Kara Baccus and juniors Sarah Rodriguez and Aimee Parker — might recapture the Class A title it won two years ago.

“It depends on what her attitude will be” toward offseason conditioning and learning, Swenty said of Nurse. “But she has all the skills and abilities. Physically, she has the height, she’s our 10th-grade student body president, so she’s a leader among her peers.”

Kadena High School student-journalist Kelly Helms and Class A Tournament organizers Zachary Robinson and Jennifer Sharp contributed to this report.

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