High school roundup: Japan, Okinawa athletes brave the elements to compete
"Man vs. the elements" would have been an appropriate subtitle for Friday afternoon, when in Japan, Okinawa and some parts of Korea, athletes bore the brunt of rain — and even snow in one location — to compete.
Showers forced officials to cancel the hurdles and high jump in Friday’s Okinawa Activities Council track meet. Only the 3,000, shot put, discus and long jump were held.
"I was kind of scared I was going to slip the whole time," said Kubasaki freshman distance runner Abigail Wall, who ran a rare dead heat in the 3,000 meters with Kadena’s India Adams, clocking a 12:31. "I kind of just ran and forgot about it."
"In Utah, where I’m from, you run in the snow," Adams said.
Kadena’s Thomas McDonald said he felt trepidation as he won the boys long jump at 5.61 meters.
"You have to keep your feet under you," McDonald said. "You have to take it one step at a time."
Overnight rain at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni flooded Matthew C. Perry High School’s soccer field. Officials used Squeegees to clear half the field; teams played seven per side using Futsal rules.
"It has rained every weekend this season. Every single one," Perry boys coach Mark Lange said. "And I’ve had to Squeegee every week. It just won’t stop. I’ve never seen so much rain in all my years of coaching. But we make do."
Yokota (4-10-1) made the most of its chance against Perry, posting a 4-2 victory and a 1-1 tie over the Samurai (14-6-2), avenging losses to Perry earlier this season.
At Yokota, softball players dodged raindrops all day in the DODEA Japan Fastpitch Tournament at Yokota’s Bonk Field.
Despite liberally dragging the field between games and plenty of maintenance before the start of play, "It’s slick," Zama American coach Parish Jones said. He added that balls had to be wiped down after every three pitches and that there were "some bad spots in key positions."
Usually, teams might not play in such conditions, but "this is the tournament and they’re trying to make it work," Jones said.
Lange had one thing to be thankful for — that it didn’t snow at Iwakuni as it did at Misawa Air Base. Robert D. Edgren hosted Nile C. Kinnick’s boys and girls soccer teams while white stuff fell on Eagles Field.
"It’s kind of fun, actually, playing soccer with the snowflakes" Kinnick boys coach Robert Tiffany said.
Eagles girls coach Mark Pierce disagreed. "It’s terrible. It’s cold out here," he said.
Told about the snow, Lange said: "Boy, I’m glad I’m not at Misawa."
The forecast for Saturday across Japan was for partly cloudy to clear conditions with little chance of precipitation.
In Korea, weather was less of a bother, although Seoul Foreign’s 5-1 boys soccer victory over Daegu American was shortened by lightning and thunder.
Osan American’s girls soccer team lost for the first time in 13 matches, 2-1 at Taejon Christian International, and fell out of first in the Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference.