Record falls as seniors dominate Far East Day 1
Stars and Stripes October 23, 2023
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan – Jane Williams and Tyler Gaines led the way as Matthew C. Perry swept Division II honors on the first day of the DODEA-Pacific Far East cross country meet, a day that saw the boys Division I course and meet record shattered by more than a minute.
Williams, a senior, won the girls overall and D-II race, clocking 19 minutes, 19.34 seconds. Fellow senior Gaines came in fourth overall and captured the boys D-II title with a time of 17:00.3 on a crisp, clear Monday at Misawa’s Gosser Memorial Golf Course.
Seniors ruled the day at Gosser. William Beardsley, of Tokyo’s D-I St. Mary’s, blew away the previous course and meet record with a time of 15:18.2. Reagan McGuire of Humphreys took girls D-I honors in 20:02.8.
“I think I could have pushed it a little harder,” said Williams, who went unbeaten this season and finished no lower than third after transferring to Perry last summer from Oak Harbor (Wash.) High School. She holds the Pacific’s top time this season, 18:12.4 set Sept. 30. Her effort was good enough to top the girls course record of 19:32 set in 2016 by Lisa Watanuki of American School In Japan. Morgan Erler of Robert D. Edgren set the meet record of 18:51 during a virtual meet in 2020.
“I was focusing on doing the best I could for my team, so I didn’t want to blow things up and go too fast,” Williams said. “I’m very happy, and everyone else (on the team) did amazing today.”
After finishing first in all but one race this season, Gaines expressed some disappointment with his performance Monday. He holds DODEA-Pacific’s top time this season, 15:56.8, and was hoping to beat 17 minutes on Monday, just missing by .3 seconds.
“It’s hard for me to make it feel like a win when there was three people in front of me,” said Gaines, who finished fourth overall. He had finished no lower than third during the season after transferring last summer from Fort Myers High School (Fla.).
As teams, Perry’s boys outpointed Japan rival E.J. King 47-50, while the girls outscored Yokota 29-41.
“I think they did amazing, not having run this course before,” Samurai coach Brad Cramer said. “I think they did fine.”
Beardsley had just run the 18th Asia-Pacific Invitational on Friday on Guam, clocking 15:24 on the John F. Kennedy High School course. He said it wasn’t a problem coming back to run at Far East three days later.
“I didn’t really feel fatigue from Guam at all,” said Beardsley, adding that his training regimen is similar to what he’s run the past few days. “I’m used to that type of schedule.”
Beardsley went unbeaten the past two seasons, winning the API twice in addition to Far East on Monday, breaking three meet and course records along the way. The Far East meet and Gosser course record was 16:20, set in 2008 by Zama’s Andrew Quallio, now an Air Force pilot.
“It’s nice, obviously, but I’m not concerned about times,” said Beardsley, who has committed to run for Division I Michigan in college. “It’s more about me going out there to win the races.”
McGuire, who transferred from Junction City (Kansas) High School, came in second behind Williams and placed first overall in D-I, her second victory in four races this season.
“I was nervous” before the race, McGuire said, “but that’s a good thing. I wanted people to push me.”
Her hope, McGuire said, was to be able to keep up with Williams, the pre-race favorite, “but she was gone immediately,” McGuire said.
Running at Gosser was similar to the courses McGuire ran in the States, rather than the courses in Korea which she said were more compact and city-bound.
“This was a lot more open, with different surfaces. It was a nice contrast” to Korea, McGuire said.
In D-I team competition, American School In Japan boys placed first by 40 points over Kadena, while Nile C. Kinnick’s girls outpointed ASIJ by 25.
The Red Devils had 14 girls runners who met qualifying team times this season, “so there was a lot of competition amongst the team,” Kinnick coach Luke Voth said.
“They have all been excellent teammates to one another. Competing with one another and encouraging one another,” Voth said.
The meet concludes Tuesday with the 10-kilometer team relay, also scheduled for Gosser.