Gustafsson leads charge at Kanto finals
Fred Gustafsson continues to make inroads toward rewriting the Pacific hurdling record book.
The Yokota junior clocked a 56.55 seconds in Saturday’s 400-meter hurdles, breaking the school record and just .05 short of the league record, as he swept both hurdles events in the Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools finals at Tokyo’s Oi Pier Ground.
“During hurdles, you look for efficiency, and this boy almost has it down,” said coach Al Garrido of Nile C. Kinnick of Gustafsson, who already holds the league record in the 300 hurdles with a 39.46.
“He needs to develop more speed, and when he does, he’ll set records that won’t be broken for awhile. And the nice thing about it is, he’s humble.”
Paced by Gustafsson and fellow double sprint winners Preston Brooks and Kelsey Scott, Yokota took second in the boys and girls team standings, behind American School In Japan, which regained the girls team title after losing it last season to Nile C. Kinnick.
“Overall, it was a good meet for the team,” Gustafsson said in an email exchange via Facebook, adding that it was solid preparation for the Panthers for the Far East meet May 23-25 at Kubasaki on Okinawa.
“I think we’ll do well at Far East, with our relays getting faster and hopefully Preston can handle the sprints,” he wrote. “I’ll handle the hurdles and we have a handful of good middle distance runners, too.”
Other multiple winners were Trevor Maggart of ASIJ (1,500, 3,000), Christian Academy Japan’s Kendra Peterson (shot put, discus), CAJ’s SungJi Kim (310 hurdles, 400) and Seisen International’s Theresa Kern (1,500, 3,000).
Kinnick baseball, Falcon softball tune up for Far EastAt Yokota Air Base, Nile C. Kinnick’s baseball team tuned up for Far East May 23-26 at Daegu American by winning a four-team DODDS Japan tournament.
Meanwhile, Seoul American’s softball team wrapped up a perfect DODDS Korea season at 12-0, winning its last two games Saturday at Yongsan Garrison over Osan and Daegu American by run rule in its final tune-up before Far East May 23-26 at Kadena.
“It was a good season,” coach Julian Harden said after pitchers Katie Darby and Leilani Shak led the Falcons to a 13-2 five-inning win over Osan and a 19-4 three-run victory over Daegu.
It’s a young Falcons team with just two seniors which Harden still feels has a “long way to go. But I appreciate the hard work the girls put in. We’ll see how the next event goes. They’re young with a lot of drive and initiative.”
Meanwhile, pitching brothers Daniel and Donald Ross and the bat of David Mason powered the Red Devils baseball team past Zama American 15-6 in Saturday’s semifinal and 8-5 over Robert D. Edgren at Yokota Park.
The games were needed, coach Michael Valenzuela said, after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami sidelined much of DODDS Japan sports for six weeks.
“The pitchers are getting back into condition after the long hiatus,” Valenzuela said. “Hopefully, we’re peaking at the right time.”