It was Kadena’s biggest test yet in preparing to defend its Far East High School Wrestling Tournament dual-meet title. If the scores were any indicator, the Panthers passed with flying colors.
Kadena scored a resounding sweep in Friday’s dual-meet phase of the 3rd Rumble on the Rock Tournament, routing St. Mary’s International of Tokyo 49-13, American School In Japan 54-8 and Okinawa archrival Kubasaki 47-14.
More important than the sweep, coach Steve Schrock said, was getting to see different style and technique that the Panthers might encounter in the Far East event, since they see so much of Kubasaki.
“We need those tough battles going into Far East,” Schrock said. The Far East tournament on Feb. 8-11 is slated for the first time at the Super Gym at South Korea’s Camp Humphreys, and Kadena and Kubasaki will have had the fewest dual meets of any DODDS-Pacific teams.
“These kids work just as hard as anybody else in the Pacific and they deserve to wrestle in a gym under the lights with fans yelling,” Schrock said. “Sometimes just going at each other in the practice room just wears you out. So it’s fun to have different teams out here.”
The Panthers got victories from all parts of their lineup. Key was Jordan Castillo-Henderson’s close decision over Kubasaki’s Jon Goddard at 135 pounds. Henderson also scored two pins. Rookie 215-pounder Aaron Ahner pinned three foes, spending just 3 minutes, 57 seconds on the mat.
Aaron Avila (115 pounds) got two pins and a decision, Tae Hon Paschal (129) two decisions and a technical fall, Jacob Bishop (141) two decisions and a pin, Cody Reyes (148) two pins and a decision and two-time Far East gold medalist Harry Bloom two pins and a victory by default.
Kubasaki heavyweight Jack Miller got his first victory, a close decision over Kadena’s Gabe Ahner, but it proved costly as Miller suffered a foot injury and was considered doubtful for Saturday’s freestyle tournament.
Despite its dominance on Friday, Schrock said his team “still has a lot of hard work left” before the Far East tournament.
Daegu boys, Kinnick girls score big on hardwood
Not since Steve Boyd assumed the helm of the Seoul American boys basketball team in 2001-02 had the Falcons lost to both Osan American and Daegu American in a season.
That came to pass Friday when the Warriors won at Falcon Gym 61-51 behind David Martinez’s 25 points and Josh Gosserand’s 18 rebounds.
“We finally got that one off our back,” Daegu coach Phillip Loyd said.
While the boys lost at home, Seoul American’s girls downed Daegu American 53-44 behind 12 points each from Liz Gleaves and Diamond Person, giving the Falcons their 18th straight Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference regular-season title.
After not having won and not having center Shannon Jackson in the lineup since early December, Nile C. Kinnick’s girls righted the ship as Jackson scored 24 points in her return and the Red Devils pounded Yokota 61-40. The Panthers had won seven of nine.
“It woke our eyes up to a few things. It was a good blowout,” Yokota coach Ric Cabral said.
Playing a big leadership role on the court for Kinnick was guard Mary Niemeyer with 15 points. “She was a wonderful floor leader,” Red Devils coach Charles Boyer said.