Drummer brothers come up big on mats
Stars and Stripes January 31, 2023
Check out all the matchups as well as results from Far East basketball.
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan – One’s called “Big Hulk,” the other is known as “Li’l Hulk.”
Together on Tuesday, however, Jeremiah and Josiah Drummer both became known as Far East wrestling tournament champions.
Jeremiah, a junior, pinned Matthew Araya of St. Mary’s in 2 minutes, 6 seconds, to win the 180-pound weight class. Josiah, his freshman brother, fashioned a 15-4 technical-fall win in 5:12 over St. Mary’s Jong In Lee.
Those weight-class victories helped spur Kadena to a fourth-place Division I team finish in the individual freestyle competition, and gave the Drummer brothers a long-sought goal.
“We came into the season with the expectation to win” their respective weight classes, Jeremiah said of he and his brother, who transferred to Kadena from Loomis, Calif., near Beale Air Force Base, over the summer.
“I came here with one goal, to win Far east, and I feel accomplished,” Josiah said.
Their father, Raymond, a Panthers assistant coach, called the dual triumph something that was “many years in the making.”
“As a coach and a father, I couldn’t be prouder,” the elder Drummer said.
The brother-brother triumph highlighted a return to full-fledged, in-person Far East competitions for DODEA schools for the first time since the 2020 Far East wrestling tournament at Osan.
The following week, the Far East basketball tournaments, boys at Humphreys and girls at Kadena, were canceled due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. All Far East tournaments went on the shelf for three years, save for virtual competitions.
The Division I team champion is a familiar face to the awards podium – St. Mary’s captured five weight classes and cruised to its 18th Far East tournament team title, second all time to Kubasaki’s 28. The Titans scored 87 team points, 20 better than defending champion Kubasaki.
“I’m glad to see it (Far East) come back and see familiar and new faces,” said Titans coach Shu Yabui, a former three-time Far East champion. “I knew we would all be rebuilding. I was glad to see our wrestlers rise up.”
The Titans got weight-class champion performances from 101-pounder Hugo Miyamoto, 115-pounder Isaac Shane, Masaya Toyokawa (129), Nathaniel Twohig (135) and 168-pounder Roman Leyko.
But the Division II team champion is a new one: Matthew C. Perry, which came in second in the 2020 Far East, and this time took four second-place weight-class finishes for a total of 48 points, far outdistancing second-place Christian Academy Japan (21).
“Isn’t that something?” said first-year Samurai coach Billy L. Henry. “The team all came to work, they worked hard all year, they supported each other and pushed each other.”
Yabui said he was impressed with the Samurai. “D-II teams, if they have the right people, they can be as competitive as a D-I team,” he said.
Brothers Sebastian and Gregory Campbell finished runner-up at 115 and 122 pounds, as did 215-pounder Maddix Larue and heavyweight Jayden Santiago for Perry. The Samurai went unbeaten against D-II Japan foes.
Larue credited the Samurai’s coaching staff for developing the team. “We just had a good team ethic and pushed each other to get better,” Larue said.
Kubasaki got a weight-class triumph at 158 pounds in Hayden Potter. Third-place D-I finisher American School In Japan came away with weight-class titles for Kaisei Smith (122), Bryce Clement (141) and Basil Reiger (148). Host Kinnick’s Bobby Crisafulli won at heavyweight, while Christian Academy Japan’s Jamie Marshall got the lone weight-class triumph by a D-II school at 215.
Wrestling continues Wednesday with the dual-meet finals, scheduled at 1 p.m. for Division II and 2 p.m. for Division I.