Is this the weekend a track record falls?
Another Pacific track and field athlete has joined the growing list of folks engaged in the chase for regional record-book space.
Jarvis Stokes, a Daegu sophomore, last Saturday recorded a long-jump leap of 6.89 meters – the longest in the Pacific in eight years and just .16 meters off the 18-year-old Pacific record.
“I thought last year, he was one of our better jumpers; it was a matter of getting his form down,” Warriors coach Phillip Loyd said, adding that Stokes has been “working hard,” practicing his technique.
Asked if Stokes can eventually surpass the 7.05 set in 1997 by International School Kuala Lumpur’s Mike Dixon, Loyd said: “I think it’s possible sometime this season, if not by” the Far East meet May 21-22 at Yokota.
Stokes gets his next chance in Thursday’s Seoul American Invitational, originally scheduled at Camp Casey’s Schoonover Bowl but to be held at Humphreys instead.
Stokes is part of a fairly large group within striking distance of several Pacific records:
-- Kaelyn Francis of Kubasaki posted a 12.51 in the 100 last week, .1 seconds off the electronically timed 12.41 set in 2013 by Val James of Nile C. Kinnick. She gets her next shot in Friday’s reboot of the Mike Petty Memorial Meet.
-- Christian Sonnenberg of Yokota is closing in on the 50.65 discus throw by the Panthers’ Stephe DeSantis in 1988; Sonnenberg threw 49.3 last Saturday. His next meet is Saturday at Yokota
-- Daniel Galvin of Yokota also gets his next chance on Saturday of challenging his 1:55.54 in the 800 and 4:23.42 in the 1,600.
¬¬-- And Kinnick’s Jabari Johnson continues to chase his FAT-timed 49.57 set in last year’s Far East meet; he runs again Saturday at Yokota.
The 11th edition of Mike Petty comes after the event was shut down last year in the wake of competition limits implemented by the DODDS Pacific area office.
Only five teams are entered, including Petty regular Morrison Academy of Taiwan.
“We’re just looking at getting it back up and running,” Kubasaki coach and meet director Kenneth Gipson, adding that he “absolutely” hopes at attracting a larger field next season.
In a soccer first, Kubasaki’s boys are making their second road trip in as many weekends, to play at Yokota on Friday, then against Christian Academy Japan and the Red Devils at Kinnick on Saturday.
Combined with their trip last week to Seoul American, it means the Dragons will have played against every team they’ll face May 18-20 in the Far East Division I tournament – a first in the Far East era which began in 1998.
“How often does that happen?” assistant coach Tony Washington said, adding that head coach Saleem Malik had worked hard on getting the road trips to “give the guys experience and a chance to bond.”
Kadena’s girls will also make a rare road trip, to play at American School In Japan on Friday, then against Seisen and Christian Academy Japan at ASIJ on Saturday.
While rain is in the cards on Saturday in the Tokyo area, the Mike Petty meet is scheduled to be run under sunny, sultry skies. That should also benefit ASIJ’s baseball and softball teams, which travel to Okinawa to play Kubasaki on Friday and Kadena on Saturday.
ASIJ softball is seen by some observers, noting the Mustangs’ third-place finish a year ago, as the biggest threat to unseat the Panthers as Far East D-I Tournament champions. “I’d agree with that,” Kadena coach Kelli Wilson said. “They were good last year.”
All of that action is among the last for DODDS Pacific teams with the week-long spring break starting Monday.