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DODEA-Korea schools finally get back on courts, courses

Humphreys Gold's Kyra Vaughan, the lone girls player on the Blackhawks' golf team, hits an approach from the rough en route to a match-play defeat against Humphreys Black's Blake Borelli.

BEN BROWN/FOR STARS AND STRIPES

By DAVE ORNAUER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 30, 2020

Note: This article has been corrected.

Humphreys golfers ended up playing only against their own teammates. The one girl on the Blackhawks’ roster had to play against a boy (and lost).

Still, coach Scott Rumery and the Blackhawks made history on Thursday as the first DODEA high school golf team in Korea. Under sunny skies, with temperatures in the 60s, they played intra-squad match play at Humphreys’ River Bend Golf Club.

“It’s cool to be the first DODEA school in South Korea to have a golf team and play in competition,” sophomore Ethan Elliott said.

He and nine teammates were split into two squads, Humphreys Black and Gold, for their school colors. The plan was for Osan and Daegu to have golf teams, but they only have middle-school players.

But it’s a start and Humphreys athletics director Ben Pak said he sees the sport growing not just in Korea, but throughout DODEA-Pacific.

“I’m so happy to be involved in the first (DODEA-Korea golf matches) and I look forward to many more tournaments, including the Far East,” Pak said.

Until DODEA-Pacific offered golf as a fall sport, it was only played regularly at Kubasaki and Kadena, and then in the spring.

Thursday’s matches marked the start of the fall sports season in Korea. Tryouts finally began on Oct. 6, two weeks after brick-and-mortar schools reopened on peninsula.

Tennis begins with Osan at Humphreys on Friday and Humphreys at Daegu on Saturday. On Saturday, Humphreys also hosts cross country and boys volleyball opens at Humphreys and girls at Daegu.

Okinawa began its fall season in early October. Five of the six DODEA-Japan schools also have begun fall sports but can only offer skills development and conditioning; some play intra-squad competitions.

Golf

Elliott and Cade White are expected to anchor the Blackhawks’ boys roster, while the girls team remains a “work in progress,” Rumery said, with just one girl on the roster, Kyra Vaughan.

“All team members are eagerly trying to improve their skills and show their strengths,” Rumery said.

Volleyball

This was a sport not initially offered by DODEA-Pacific, but it left open the possibility that it could be done if a school or district offered a plan to do it safely with proper mitigation strategies. Approval was granted earlier this month.

Seniors Jalynn Knight and Zoey Weidley anchor a Humphreys girls team welcoming Clint Barnes as its new coach. Daegu also has a new coach, athletic director Blake Sims. He has seven returners, including seniors Lexie Berry and Bethani Newbold and junior Issamaly Thurman.

“It’s kind of nerve-wracking, but I’m honestly excited to get on the court and have real playing time,” Berry said. “Not just for me, but for the rest of my team, too.”

Lacie Arb migrates from the softball diamond and Brendan Rouse from basketball to coach Osan’s girls. It’s a young team but it counts among its veterans senior Tailan Hickey, junior Naomi Elliot and sophomores Shaylee Ungos and Angela Serrano.

Audene Harvey moves over from the girls helm to coach the Cougars boys. Five players return: senior Nico Hokkhunthod, juniors Stephen McCool, Joseph Towne and Sergio DeLuca (played football last year) and sophomores Timothy Petrae and Josiah Abrahamson.

Three senior captains anchor the Blackhawks’ boys under new coach Ed Rozzi: Chase Tabor, Jonas Lee and Colin Metcalf. The latter is a giant in the middle, following in the footsteps of his college basketball-playing brothers DeAndre and Quintin.

Three players return for Daegu coach Jeramie Lentz, seniors Mario Tringali, Dandre Ottey and Angus Delaney.

Tennis

Osan’s tennis team welcomes new coach Krista Fagala. While the boys team is a work in progress, the girls roster features seniors MacKenzie Kosmicki, Layla Barker and Kiana Duran along with promising youngsters.

Daegu’s girls under Zachary Zendejas feature junior Michelle Yoo, who played two varsity seasons in Wisconsin before moving to Korea, and twin sophomores Ella and Emma Sims. Boys coach Robert Kenny’s roster features junior captain Ethan Sessions and sophomore Daniel Son.

Matthew Pollock’s Humphreys roster is loaded with veterans, led by singles seniors Daul Bae and Ashley Kim. Doubles stars Charles Newbegin and Evelyn Park also return from last year’s team.

Cross country

Amy Gleason steps in as Humphreys coach. Runners showing promise include sophomore Hanna Chung and senior Max Dickson, a transfer from Wiesbaden in his first season of competitive running.

Daegu and Osan, meanwhile, boast the biggest squads in each schools’ history with coaches Kevin Anglim and Bradley and Brenda Helsel returning, respectively, to the Warriors’ and Cougars’ helms.

Freshman Dean Lentz leads the boys and senior ElaMaree Cooley the girls on a Warriors roster featuring 13 runners, “which for Daegu is huge,” Anglim said.

The Cougars are young but loaded with potential with a roster of 25 runners, Bradley Helsel said. Freshman Parker Hendrickson and sophomore Izzy Rouse headline the boys, while freshmen Gabi Penry and Anna Roth show promise. Penry “is going to be something special,” Helsel said.

ornauer.dave@stripes.com
Twitter: @daveornauer

Correction: ElaMaree Cooley is misidentified in an earlier version of this article.

Humphreys Gold's Owen White hits an approach shot en route to his match-play victory over Humphreys Black's Vincent Castellano.
BEN BROWN/FOR STARS AND STRIPES