Kinnick continues to roll, but with a surprise or two
By STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 2, 2017
Note: This article has been corrected.
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan – Nile C. Kinnick wrestling remained perfect through three weeks of the season. But the Red Devils didn’t escape Saturday’s Robert D. Edgren Invitational without one of its premier wrestlers suffering an upset against a previous unknown.
Sophomore Raphael Gomez, in his first year of wrestling for Edgren’s varsity, rallied from an 11-4 deficit to pin Kinnick’s former two-time Far East champion Lucas Wirth in 2 minutes, 35 seconds. The Red Devils beat the Eagles 46-18 in the dual meet-style tournament.
“He’s a great kid and he’s tough,” Eagles coach Justin Edmonds said. Gomez practiced as a middle school protégé under Edmonds in the Eagles wrestling room, did not wrestle as a ninth grader but returned to the mat this season. “We’re going to see what he can do.”
“That’s what makes the sport exciting,” Red Devils coach Gary Wilson said. “Lucas was up and he got caught. It was a strong match the whole way by both wrestlers. Gomez is a quality wrestler and a humble winner.”
It was the first time Wirth, who won Far East weight-class titles in 2015 and 2016, lost to a wrestler not from St. Mary’s. He had one close call with Kubasaki’s Kian McCarthy in the 2016 “Beast” invitational, but that was all.
That Gomez is present at 129 along with St. Mary’s Rio Lemkuil will make the 129-pound class “one of the top weights at Far East” in February at Kinnick, Wilson said.
“If he stays on track, he’ll be your new Far East champion,” Edmonds said. “He’s going to be fun to watch. And whatever happens, happens.”
The Red Devils won all five of their dual meets. Edgren won four of its five duals and Yokota took three of four.
Korea’s season began Saturday at Seoul American, and Humphreys, fielding as full a lineup as the school has had in its five-season history, routed Daegu 43-1 and gave the host Falcons all they could handle in a 31-20 defeat.
“Humphreys has enough wrestlers this year” - nine compared to just the three the Blackhawks had a season ago - “and they look good,” Falcons coach Ben Pak said.
Falcon girls escape Daegu
CAMP WALKER, South Korea – Trying to win two straight games for the first time in five seasons, Daegu’s girls basketball came up short in Saturday’s home battle with Seoul American, falling 58-53.
Daegu led 11-7 after one period, then the Falcons outscored the Warriors 41-25 over the next two quarters. Daegu staged a late rally, but it wasn’t enough. The Warriors were missing two starters, in Japan for last week’s Far East Journalism Conference.
“The replacements almost got the job done,” Daegu’s new coach Victor Rivera said. “I was very proud of them.”
Freshmen DaiJa Turner had 25 points and Bethani Newbold 20 for Daegu. Seoul American’s Maria Bruch led all scorers with 28.
Daegu opened the season on Nov. 21 with a 38-21 win over Osan, the Warriors’ first victory since the ninth-place game of the 2015 Far East Division II Tournament.
Gleason helps Perry salvage split
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan – Anybody hoping to catch a glimpse of Kapili Gleason need look no further than the three-point line. Chances are, he’s sinking another basket launched there.
Matthew C. Perry’s sharpshooting senior racked up five threes, four in the second quarter, giving him 15 baskets from downtown this season. The Samurai on Saturday downed Edgren 51-29, their first win of the season against four defeats.
“When he gets hot, he gets hot,” Perry’s new coach Joshua Henry said. “That’s his shot. He’s our outside guy.”
Perry’s first win might have come one night earlier, were it not for the Eagles’ outscoring the Samurai 15-6 in the fourth quarter of a 51-43 victory. Henry said Perry needs to cut down on turnovers and get their passes more crisp.
“It’s coming,” Henry said. “I think we’ll see a better team at Far East” in January on Okinawa.
Humphreys opens strong, King improves to 3-1
The big one who got away from Seoul American in the offseason is paying big dividends for his new team in just its first two games.
Quintin Metcalf averaged 19 points and 22 rebounds as Humphreys opened strong with two weekend victories, 62-26 on Friday at Yongsan and 75-54 Saturday at Osan.
Another junior, Sidney Parks, who transferred from Perry, has given defending Far East Division II champion E.J. King a boost in the early going, particularly this weekend, when he averaged 20 points in the Cobras’ 62-30 win Friday and 76-52 victory Saturday over Zama.
“Sidney is a great addition and this team has a lot of potential,” said Cobras coach Laird Small. “We think they’ll continue to get better as they play more with each other.”