Support our mission
Osan senior right-hander Anne Mountcastle was named the school’s female Athlete of the Year.

Osan senior right-hander Anne Mountcastle was named the school’s female Athlete of the Year. (Dave Ornauer/Stars and Stripes)

CAMP ZAMA, Japan – Athletes, coaches and teams could have been forgiven if they felt like the 2021-22 school year felt like a traffic jam, especially in winter - when the boys and girls basketball seasons ground to a halt, thanks to a spike in coronavirus cases.

“I felt kind of angry that it happened,” said senior forward Keshawn McNeill of DODEA-Japan boys basketball champion Zama.

“Football had gone smoothly, and I was hoping things would go just as smoothly in basketball,” he said. “When the season stopped, it threw off everybody’s momentum. I can only imagine how other teams were dealing with it.”

Hoops teams in DODEA-Japan and DODEA-Korea found their seasons interrupted for three weeks, resuming in early February; DODEA-Okinawa’s season was canceled altogether.

That Korea and Japan were able to salvage three weekends of competition in February was better than the alternative – in February 2020, Far East tournaments were canceled after one day due to the COVID outbreak.

“We had seen it all taken away completely,” Osan senior Anne Mountcastle said. “That gives you perspective.”

McNeill and the Trojans took advantage of the resumption, finishing second to Yokota in the DODEA-Japan regular season, but turning it on in the league post-season tournament. “Luckily, we were able to have a tournament,” he said.

McNeill scored 32 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the championship game, which the Trojans won 61-31 over E.J. King on Feb. 19 at Yokota. Zama finished 11-3 overall.

Zama senior Keshawn McNeill was named the school’s male Athlete of the Year.

Zama senior Keshawn McNeill was named the school’s male Athlete of the Year. (Jason Wysong/Special to Stripes)

Daegu senior goalkeeper Margaret Hager was named the school's female Athlete of the Year.

Daegu senior goalkeeper Margaret Hager was named the school's female Athlete of the Year. (Brian K. McCollum/Special to Stripes)

Matthew C. Perry's Shion Fleming and E.J. King's Keith Lombard were named their respective schools' male Athletes of the Year.

Matthew C. Perry's Shion Fleming and E.J. King's Keith Lombard were named their respective schools' male Athletes of the Year. (Dave Ornauer/Stars and Stripes)

Robert D. Edgren senior Morgan Erler was named the school's female Athlete of the Year for the second straight year.

Robert D. Edgren senior Morgan Erler was named the school's female Athlete of the Year for the second straight year. (Dave Ornauer/Stars and Stripes)

Humphreys senior Isaac Robinson was named the school's male Athlete of the Year.

Humphreys senior Isaac Robinson was named the school's male Athlete of the Year. (Brian K. McCollum/Special to Stripes)

Senior Keiya Carlson has been named Yokota's female Athlete of the Year.

Senior Keiya Carlson has been named Yokota's female Athlete of the Year. (Dave Ornauer/Stars and Stripes)

Kubasaki junior Jeffery Owens has been named the school's male Athlete of the year.

Kubasaki junior Jeffery Owens has been named the school's male Athlete of the year. (Dave Ornauer/Stars and Stripes)

Kadena sophomore Destiny Richardson has been named the school's female Athlete of the Year.

Kadena sophomore Destiny Richardson has been named the school's female Athlete of the Year. (Dave Ornauer/Stars and Stripes)

Kadena senior Jeremiah Lewis, left, has been named the school’s male Athlete of the Year.

Kadena senior Jeremiah Lewis, left, has been named the school’s male Athlete of the Year. (Dave Ornauer/Stars and Stripes)

Nile C. Kinnick sophomore Mikaila Joi Miranda, right, was named the school's female Athlete of the Year.

Nile C. Kinnick sophomore Mikaila Joi Miranda, right, was named the school's female Athlete of the Year. (Dave Ornauer/Stars and Stripes)

Yokota senior Caleb Jones, with ball, was named the school's male Athlete of the Year.

Yokota senior Caleb Jones, with ball, was named the school's male Athlete of the Year. (Dave Ornauer/Stars and Stripes)

Nile C. Kinnick senior Austin Shinzato has been named the school's male Athlete of the Year for the second straight year.

Nile C. Kinnick senior Austin Shinzato has been named the school's male Athlete of the Year for the second straight year. (Dave Ornauer/Stars and Stripes)

In Korea, Mountcastle and the Cougars finished first in the truncated regular season, beating Humphreys Black 34-30 to earn the top seed in the league’s postseason tournament. There, the Blackhawks avenged that defeat 34-23 on Feb. 11. Mountcastle had 11 points; Osan finished 3-2.

Mountcastle also pitched Osan to the DODEA-Korea softball title, beating Daegu 14-5 in the final on April 29, and was one of the centerpiece players on the Cougars’ volleyball team.

She earned Osan’s female Athlete of the Year honor and topped that by being named the school’s first winner of the Don Hedgpath Memorial Award, given to the Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference student-athlete of the year. Hedgpath was Seoul American’s longtime athletics director who passed away in June 2015.

McNeill led the Trojans’ football team in touchdown receptions during the Trojans’ 3-5 campaign and was named winner of Zama’s male Athlete of the Year award.

For his part, McNeill said every time he played, especially basketball, “every time I stepped on the court, I felt like I had a lot to prove.”

He had good reason – he was seeking to take his game to the next level, and has committed to play at Saint Francis of Pennsylvania, a Division I school in the Northeast Conference.

Mountcastle is headed to Catholic University of America in Washington to study medicine.

The school year was fraught with uncertainties, Mountcastle said, “but I think we built up a lot of patience these past couple of years. We took it one day at a time and we were grateful to take the field every chance we got.”

2021-22 DODEA-Pacific high school Athletes of the Year by school

Daegu – Stephen Jones, senior, tennis, cheerleading, track and field; Margaret Hager, senior, golf, cheerleading, soccer.

Robert D. Edgren – Douglass Tackney, senior, football, wrestling, baseball; Morgan Erler, senior, cross country, track and field (repeat selection).

Guam High – Tobias Eckles, senior, basketball, track and field; Kamryn Thompson, senior, volleyball, beach volleyball, cheerleading.

Humphreys – Isaac Robinson, senior, football, cheerleading, track and field; Laurie Petracca, senior, cheerleading, track and field.

Kadena – Jeremiah Lewis, senior, football, basketball; Destiny Richardson, sophomore, basketball track and field.

E.J. King – Keith Lombard, senior, cross country, basketball, baseball; Moa Best, freshman, tennis, basketball, softball.

Nile C. Kinnick – Austin Shinzato, senior, cross country, wrestling, track and field (repeat selection); Mikaila Joi Miranda, junior, volleyball, basketball, soccer.

Kubasaki – Jeffery Owens, junior, football, wrestling, baseball; Michelle Swanson, senior, JROTC drill, cheerleading, soccer.

Osan – Justin Towne, senior, volleyball, soccer; Anne Mountcastle, senior, volleyball, basketball, softball.

Matthew C. Perry – Shion Fleming, senior, football, basketball, soccer; Chelsea Campbell, junior, volleyball, JROTC marksmanship, wrestling (manager), softball.

Yokota – Caleb Jones, senior, football, wrestling, soccer; Keiya Carlson, senior, basketball, soccer.

Zama – Keshawn McNeill, senior, football, basketball; Liliana Fennessey, sophomore, cross country, track and field.

author picture
Dave Ornauer has been employed by or assigned to Stars and Stripes Pacific almost continuously since March 5, 1981. He covers interservice and high school sports at DODEA-Pacific schools and manages the Pacific Storm Tracker.
twitter Email

Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up