Far East cheerleading is back as a virtual event

Daegu High School cheerleaders of South Korea practice for the Far East cheerleading tournament at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020.


By DAVE ORNAUER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 23, 2020

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa – Cheerleading has become the second sport to be revived as a Far East virtual event, joining cross country, according to DODEA-Pacific officials.

No Far East tournaments of any sort were expected to happen when the school year resumed in August; however, DODEA-Pacific officials said with video and timing technology available, cheer and cross country could be done virtually.

Teams initially had until mid-December to submit their cross country times and cheer video results to DODEA-Pacific.

But on Friday, Far East athletics coordinator Tom McKinney said those deadlines were pushed to January because Guam High had yet to start tryouts. Guam schools resume classroom instruction Monday.

Also, Nile C. Kinnick and E.J. King in Japan have yet to begin fall sports; it’s still not known when, or if, they’ll get the go-ahead, McKinney said.

DODEA cheer teams have until Jan. 8 to submit their videos to McKinney. Results of both Far Easts will be announced on a date to be determined, he said.

Cheer teams are limited to nine athletes, uniforms and masks are mandatory and video submissions may not be edited, McKinney said.

Reaction to the news about cheer was one of joy; Far East cheerleading was one of three winter sports events to be canceled on the first day of competition, last Feb. 20.

“We knew the cards we’d been dealt” at the start of the school year, Daegu coach Melanie Miller said. “Now, everybody’s excited, more than you know.”

Having Far East virtually is “going to be something different,” Kubasaki senior cheerleader Lily Oboza said. She was one of more than 100 competitors at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni earlier this year when Far East was canceled.

Noting that basketball and wrestling seasons have been canceled entirely for this school year, Oboza said: “We’re lucky.”

Twitter: @daveornauer