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David Heitstuman of E.J. King cradles the shoulders of Zama American’s Josh Johnson to the mat in the 129-pound championship bout at Saturday’s DODDS-Japan tournament at Yokota Air Base, Japan. Heitstuman won by pin.
David Heitstuman of E.J. King cradles the shoulders of Zama American’s Josh Johnson to the mat in the 129-pound championship bout at Saturday’s DODDS-Japan tournament at Yokota Air Base, Japan. Heitstuman won by pin. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)
David Heitstuman of E.J. King cradles the shoulders of Zama American’s Josh Johnson to the mat in the 129-pound championship bout at Saturday’s DODDS-Japan tournament at Yokota Air Base, Japan. Heitstuman won by pin.
David Heitstuman of E.J. King cradles the shoulders of Zama American’s Josh Johnson to the mat in the 129-pound championship bout at Saturday’s DODDS-Japan tournament at Yokota Air Base, Japan. Heitstuman won by pin. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)
Yokota 108-pounder Nick Guzman seizes the advantage over Moose Dietrich of Robert D. Edgren in the championship bout. Guzman won by decision.
Yokota 108-pounder Nick Guzman seizes the advantage over Moose Dietrich of Robert D. Edgren in the championship bout. Guzman won by decision. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)
Yokota 215-pounder Jim Scott attempts a crotch lift on David Leh of Robert D. Edgren in the championship bout Saturday. Scott won by decision.
Yokota 215-pounder Jim Scott attempts a crotch lift on David Leh of Robert D. Edgren in the championship bout Saturday. Scott won by decision. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)
Robert D. Edgren 141-pounder Vincent Doinoff gets a head-in-arm hold on defending Far East champion Kenji Doughty of Nile C. Kinnick. Doinoff won by decision.
Robert D. Edgren 141-pounder Vincent Doinoff gets a head-in-arm hold on defending Far East champion Kenji Doughty of Nile C. Kinnick. Doinoff won by decision. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)
Members of the Yokota Panthers wrestling team celebrate their DODDS-Japan championship on Saturday. Yokota won five individual weight-class gold medals and outscored second-place Nile C. Kinnick 55-50.
Members of the Yokota Panthers wrestling team celebrate their DODDS-Japan championship on Saturday. Yokota won five individual weight-class gold medals and outscored second-place Nile C. Kinnick 55-50. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)

What Yokota coach Brian Kitts termed a “long-distance marathon” reached a happy check point Saturday when his Panthers claimed the team title in the first Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Japan championship wrestling tournament.

The tournament matched the five DODDS-Japan schools with wrestling programs, one wrestler per school per weight class. Host Yokota won five individual gold medals and edged Nile C. Kinnick 55-50 in team points. Robert D. Edgren (33 points) placed third, followed by Zama American (32) and E.J. King (27).

Mark Meade (101 pounds), Nick Guzman (108), Jim Scott (215) and defending Far East champions Zach Dopslaf (180) and Jason Rodriguez (122) won golds for the Panthers.

“We do really well and feel really comfortable when the entire team is there,” said Kitts, whose team was missing only one starter, defending Far East champion Patrick Pamintuan, who is sidelined with a knee injury suffered in last week’s Nile C. Kinnick Invitational “Beast of the Far East” tournament.

The DODDS-Japan season is a “long-distance marathon,” Kitts said. “If we win every tournament but lose Far East, then it wasn’t a complete season. (But) this (DODDS-Japan tournament) is a great idea. I hope they continue to do it for years to come.”

Yokota’s victory came three days after the Panthers captured their first Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools championship since the 1983-84 season by downing the American School In Japan 31-27 to finish the regular season at 5-0.

Kinnick rode the shoulders of weight-class winners Phil Ergus (heavyweight), Bobby Antonio (115), Andrew Preston (168) and defending Far East champion Yamato Cibulka (148) to second place, and might have won it were not for a huge upset of defending Far East champion Kenji Doughty at the hands of Edgren’s Vincent Doinoff, who captured the 141-pound gold.

“That was one of my goals this year, to beat Kenji or Striegl,” Doinoff said of Doughty and Mark Striegl, a senior and a two-time Far East champion from Tokyo’s St. Mary’s International. “Finally, I accomplished one of those goals.”

Doinoff said he’d watched with great interest as Doughty dominated the 141-pound class at the “Beast” tournament. “I saw how he wrestled and I told myself I wanted to achieve that level,” Doinoff said.

“He did really well today,” Edgren coach Justin Edmonds said. “I’m very proud of him.”

Doinoff’s upset might spark a rivalry as he and Doughty take aim at the Far East tournament Feb. 16-18 at Yokosuka Naval Base’s Thew Gym.

Besides Doinoff, brothers Matthew and Andrew Blankenship took home the 135- and 158-pound golds. David Heitstuman was E.J. King’s lone champion at 129 pounds.

Samurai girls score historic hardwood victory“For some reason, it was their day,” Yokota coach Ric Cabral said of the Matthew C. Perry girls basketball team, which beat his Panthers for the first time. DeAndrea Taylor scored 12 points and the Samurai rallied from a six-point halftime deficit to top Yokota 38-36.

“Awesome. Unbelievable,” Samurai coach Nikki Flick said. “It was amazing. They feel really good about themselves. They played hard, they played well and they played as a team.”

Behind 19-13 at halftime, the Samurai began pressing and breaking the Panthers’ pressure to outscore Yokota 20-6 in the third quarter.

Yokota trailed by eight points with a minute left. They cut it to two and gained possession with 2 seconds left but missed a layup that would have tied the game.

Perry is 2-10 in the Japan Basketball League and 9-12 overall — seven more victories than they had last season.

Long-range shooting by coach’s son lifts Perry boysThanks to the long-distance shooting of freshman Mike Duncan, Matthew C. Perry’s boys (3-13, 1-10) also collected their first JBL victory of the season, 71-59 over E.J. King (9-6, 2-4). The Samurai also hung with Yokota (18-3, 6-2) for almost two quarters before fading 93-67.

Duncan scored 54 points in three games, 25 against Yokota, including seven three-pointers. Thirty-nine of his weekend points came from behind the arc.

“He has a good mid-range jumper but you don’t want to leave him open behind the arc,” said his coach and father, Michael Duncan. “That he’s a freshman doesn’t hurt either.”

Falcons run Korea win streak to 70, face tough choicesThe Seoul American boys ran their Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference regular-season winning streak to 70 games on Saturday, whipping Osan American 81-45, but coach Steve Boyd was happier about another number: Since December, the Falcons’ average of assists per game has risen from 12 to 18.

“And our turnovers are down,” Boyd said. “That’s very important with the Far East tournament coming up” Feb. 20-25 on Okinawa.

The Falcons (20-9, 12-0 KAIAC) have not lost a league game since the 2000-01 season.

Boyd used all 12 of his players in the Falcons’ two games over the weekend, the other a 79-44 victory at Taegu American. But he can take just 10 players to the Far East Class AA tournament later this month on Okinawa.

“We’re very deep,” Boyd said. “And they’re all contributing. I know I’ll have some tough choices to make” before Far East.

DODDS-Japan wrestling tournament

Saturday at Yokota Air Base, Japan

Final team scores: 1, Yokota, 55; 2, Nile C. Kinnick, 50; 3, Robert D. Edgren, 33; 4, Zama American, 32; 5, E.J. King, 27.

Individual results:

101 pounds: 1, Mark Meade, Yokota; 2, Kevin Donahue, E.J. King; 3, Byron Stipe, Nile C. Kinnick; 4, Stephen Flowers, Zama American.

108: 1, Nick Guzman, Yokota; 2, Moose Dietrich, Robert D. Edgren; 3, Luigi Deguzman, E.J. King; 4, Michael Palomino, Zama American.

115: 1, Bobby Antonio, Nile C. Kinnick; 2, Neal Lapurga, Yokota; 3, Chris Kahan, Zama American.

122: 1, Jason Rodriguez, Yokota; 2, Reggie Barton, Nile C. Kinnick; 3, Ray Bognot, E.J. King; 4, Nick Perry, Zama American.

129: 1, David Heitstuman, E.J. King; 2, Josh Johnson, Zama American; 3, Richard Barton, Nile C. Kinnick; 4, Robert Rodell, Yokota.

135: 1, Matthew Blankenship, Robert D. Edgren; 2, Adam Godfrey, Zama American; 3, Terrence Sanders, Nile C. Kinnick; 4, Austin Kirk, E.J. King.

141: 1, Vincent Doinoff, Robert D. Edgren; 2, Kenji Doughty, Nile C. Kinnick; 3, Kyle Shimabukuro, Yokota; 4, Matt Heitstuman, E.J. King.

148: 1, Yamato Cibulka, Nile C. Kinnick; 2, David O’Brien, Zama American; 3, Ben Grundin, Yokota; 4, Sasha Ortiz, Robert D. Edgren.

158: 1, Andrew Blankenship, Robert D. Edgren; 2, Daniel Polaski, Zama American; 3, Andrew Conkling, Yokoota.

168: 1, Andrew Preston, Nile C. Kinnick; 2, Byrrh Bryant, E.J. King; 3, Tim Campbell, Zama American; 4, Bob Scott, Yokota.

180: 1, Zach Dopslaf, Yokota; 2, Matt Seager, Nile C. Kinnick; 3, Ryyan Smith, Zama American; 4, Jason Kiehn, Robert D. Edgren.

215: 1, Jim Scott, Yokota; 2, David Leh, Robert D. Edgren.

Heavyweight: 1, Phil Ergus, Nile C. Kinnick; 2, Reuben Pittman, Yokota.

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