International schools come out on top again
KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa – Christian Academy Japan’s Kaito Masuda was as familiar with his Far East tennis boys singles foe as he could be Saturday. He and Kai Deremer of Yokota used to work out together at the same tennis club off base, and Masuda said Deremer might know all of Masuda’s weaknesses on the court.
But after overcoming an opening battle with jitters, Masuda settled down and won the first set easily, then held off Deremer in the second set to win the boys singles title 6-0, 6-4.
“I knew his forehand is good and that he’s consistent,” Masuda said of his opponent. “I lost my concentration for a second, then I regained my focus. I knew that if I held my composure, I could win, and I did.”
On the girls side, the pre-tournament favorite, junior Sarah Omachi of Seisen, won the singles title and teamed with Amana Fujikawa to capture the girls doubles.
It was a big day for Knights tennis, in particular the boys; Kitt Mori and Kento Berry won the boys doubles and CAJ won all three Division II banners, the boys, girls and overall school titles.
Seisen won the Division I girls title. Sister school St. Mary’s won the boys D-I title, while Yongsan International of Seoul, in its fourth D-I appearance, won the overall school banner.
Omachi came in second in her last appearance in Far East as a freshman two years ago. She confessed to battles with nerves and composure back then, but says she’s doing a better job of conquering it now.
“Today, even if I missed (a shot), I stayed calm,” Omachi said. “My composure was better than usual. I’ve grown a lot mentally in the last year. I used to get frustrated a lot easier.”
Coach Rory Hawkins said it was always clear that Omachi had the ability; “it’s the mental part we’ve been working on,” he said. “She’s really grown a lot.”
The mixed doubles title went to Won Hyun Kang of St. Mary’s and Lauren Woody of Seisen.