Pacific H.S. roundup: Kinnick spikers win first Kanto title
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Even after his Nile C. Kinnick girls volleyball team wrote a bit of history Wednesday, coach Al Garrido had his eyes on a bigger prize.
Shannon Jackson had 18 spike kills and five block points and Mary Niemeyer tacked on 13 kills as Kinnick beat Christian Academy In Japan 25-21 27-25, 25-8.
The Red Devils improved to a school-best 22-0 and 11-0 in the Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools — and captured the first Kanto league title in school history.
But Garrido envisions bigger and better things for his team in next month’s Far East Class AA Tournament on Guam, where the Red Devils finished eighth last year.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” said Garrido, in his third year at Kinnick’s helm. “We’re not close to being a Far East champion yet.”
At the top of Kanto they are, though — the first of the goals that Garrido laid out for his team at the start of the season. “Since I first started, I laid out the plan and it was up to them (players) to believe it. And they did,” Garrido said.
CAJ coach Tanya Hall, who has coached against Kinnick for eight seasons and played against the Red Devils in the 1980s, called Garrido’s team one of the best DODEA Japan teams she’s seen “in a long time.”
“Al’s done a good job with the program,” Hall said. “And it’s nice to see DODDS teams do well.”
Meanwhile, Chasity Cordova of Kadena recorded an Okinawa Activities Council cross-country championship three-peat, winning Wednesday’s district meet in 20 minutes, 47 seconds, 27 ticks ahead of rival Jessica Powell of Kubasaki.
Tomas Sanchez, a Kadena junior, a revelation this season, beat preseason favorite and last year’s league champion Jacob Bishop of Kadena 17:10-17:22 on the 3.1-mile Jack’s Place course on Kadena.
“I really didn’t expect to improve this much,” said Sanchez, who placed 16th in last year’s Far East meet at Misawa Air Base, Japan. “I just wanted to help the team as much as I could.”
Cordova has unfinished business at Far East, in which she’s finished second the past two years.
“I’m hoping to do well at Far East, hopefully get that title on my third try,” Cordova said. “Anything can happen. I’m just expecting to do my best and see what happens.”