Stars and Stripes' Far East athletes of the quarter: Outstanding seasons for Kadena's Bloom, Seoul American's Gleaves
Where postseason hardware won by Kadena senior wrestler Harry Bloom and Seoul American junior basketball guard Liz Gleaves was concerned, one adjective spoke volumes: “Outstanding.”
Bloom, chosen Outstanding Wrestler of the 2010 DODEA Pacific Far East High School Wrestling Tournament, won his third straight championship and helped pace the Panthers to their third straight dual-meet title last month at Camp Humphreys, South Korea.Gleaves earned Most Outstanding Player honors as her Falcons avenged their defeat in the 2009 Far East Girls Class AA Basketball Tournament final, topping Faith Academy 50-47 in last month’s rematch at Camp Zama, Japan.For their efforts, Bloom and Gleaves share Stars and Stripes Pacific high school winter season Athlete of the Quarter honors.
“An athlete like Liz comes through DODEA once every 10 years or so,” said Gleaves’ coach, Billy Ratcliff. “She is never happy with her game and strives constantly for self-improvement in whatever sport she is playing.”
Gleaves, nominally a shooting guard, shot 54 percent from the field, averaged 12.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 5.3 steals per game and also blocked 30 shots for Seoul American (28-6).
She was selected All-Tournament and All-Conference in the Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference. The Falcons went 14-0 in the regular season and won the KAIAC tournament.
Bloom seemed to achieve best when on the road with his Panthers. In addition to winning at 158 pounds at Far East, he earned Outstanding Wrestler honors in the 3rd Rumble on the Rock tournament at Kubasaki and also won the Nile C. Kinnick Invitational “Beast of the Far East” gold.
He joins his brother, Jacob, as a three-time Far East champion, making the Bloom family the most decorated in tournament history.
“His strength, conditioning, mental toughness and natural ability all combined to help make him a multiple Far East gold-medal winner,” said Bloom’s coach, Steve Schrock. “When he competes, he gives it his all. It has been a real pleasure to see him grow and improve” over the years.
The rest of the Pacific winter season awards:
Coach of the quarter: Joe Taitano’s Guam High boys basketball team didn’t miss a beat, replacing departed All-Far East stars D’Andre Weaver and Guy Mosley with transfer Jayson Brunson. The Panthers repeated their 11-2 Independent Interscholastic Athletic Association of Guam regular season record and took a school-best sixth place in the Far East Class AA tournament.Team of the quarter: Like their wrestling counterparts, Kadena’s boys basketball team did its best work away from Okinawa. The Panthers entered three in-season tournaments and won each — all on the road: the Hong Kong International and New Year Classic as well as Class AA.Program of the quarter: Kadena stands out with its Boys Class AA basketball title, the girls’ eighth straight Final Four appearance after losing their first nine games and wrestling’s Far East dual-meet title.Most improved team: After going winless the past two Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools seasons, Christian Academy Japan fashioned its finest regular-season record in 31 years behind the triad of Justin Barber, Charlie Hancock and Miles Peterson. Kadena’s girls also deserve mention, finishing 13-21 after that dreadful start and enduring a mid-season coaching change.Most improved program: Daegu American’s boys and girls basketball teams made it to the finals in their respective Far East Class A tournaments, the girls winning their second title in four years and the boys coming up 10 points short against repeat champion Morrison Christian Academy.Basketball players of the quarter: Aside from Gleaves, Taiyo Robertson was selected MVP of the Hong Kong and Class AA tournaments. Despite their teams finishing second in Class A, Daegu’s Antoine “Flash” Feagin and International School of the Sacred Heart’s Hannah Arbour stood out enough to coaches to earn MVP nods. Then, there were Gal Tesler, Clayton Baker and TK Kastritis, who powered Seoul Foreign’s run to the Asia-Pacific Activities Conference tournament title.Wrestlers of the quarter: While Bloom fueled Kadena’s engine, repeat Far East gold medalist Marcus Boehler (108) and 135-pound champion Elijah Gamble helped power Nile C. Kinnick to the Far East freestyle team title. Dominating at heavyweight this season was Michael Gilliam, the first two-time gold medalist in Osan American history.Tennis player of the quarter: Junior Amber Gadsden became the first Guam High player to be selected Independent Interscholastic Athletic Association of Guam tennis MVP. She went unbeaten in 12 singles matches as the Panthers won the IIAAG girls regular-season and tournament titles.The nomineesx-Antoine “Flash” Feagin, senior, boys basketball, Daegu American, South Koreax-Hannah Arbour, senior, girls basketball, International School of the Sacred Heart, Japanx-Harry Bloom, senior, wrestling, Kadena, Okinawax-Taiyo Robertson, senior, boys basketball, Kadena, Okinawax-Liz Gleaves, junior, girls basketball, Seoul AmericanMiles Peterson, senior, boys basketball, Christian Academy JapanAmber Gadsden, junior, tennis, Guam HighJason Sumpter, junior, boys basketball, Kadena, OkinawaAnissa Fitz, junior, girls basketball, Kadena, OkinawaGabby Falco, senior, girls basketball, Kubasaki, OkinawaRebekah Harwell, senior, girls basketball, Matthew C. Perry, JapanElijah Gamble, sophomore, wrestling, Nile C. Kinnick, JapanMarcus Boehler, sophomore, wrestling, Nile C. Kinnick, JapanMichael Gilliam, senior, wrestling, Osan American, South KoreaDestinee Harrison, junior, girls basketball, Seoul AmericanEric Kingsley, senior, wrestling, Seoul AmericanErika Ettl, sophomore, girls basketball, Yokota, JapanJohn Iredale, senior, wrestling, Zama American, Japan
x-automatically nominated for having won a Most Valuable/Outstanding Player award in a DODEA Pacific Far East tournament.
Far East H.S. baseball, softball, track and field schedules and team capsulesStars and StripesPacific edition, Saunday, March 14, 2010
Track and fieldImportant track and field dates
Invitational tournamentsFriday, April 8-Saturday, April 98th Alva W. “Mike” Petty Memorial Meet, Mike Petty Stadium, Kubasaki High School, Camp Foster, Okinawa.Saturday, May 154th Kanto Plain Invitational Meet, Oi Pier Ground, Tokyo.League championshipsSaturday, May 8Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools Meet, Bonk Field, Yokota High School, Yokota Air Base, Japan.Far East tournamentMay 24-25, Mike Petty Stadium, Kubasaki High School, Camp Foster, Okinawa.
Track and field team capsules
Yokota PanthersYokota Air Base, JapanCoach—Jane Rosier, first season.Key performers—None given.Outlook—Rebuilding. About half of last year’s squad returns to Rosier’s 38-athlete contingent “We are ready to push ourselves past where we ‘think’ our limits are and do what needs to be done to represent ourselves well at Far East,” Rosier says.
Nile C. Kinnick Red DevilsYokosuka Naval Base, JapanCoach—Al Garrido, fourth season.Key returners—Corey Serfoss, Jr., hurdler; Adam Cason, Sr., thrower; David de los Santos, Jr., thrower; John Bures, Sr., sprinter; Ryan Wong, Jr., sprinter; Ashley Barnes, So., sprinter; Jader Godsey, So., thrower.Key newcomers—Chaun Lynn, Jr., sprinter (transfer from Florida); Kevin Pinchart, Sr., distance running; Shannon Jackson, Jr., thrower; Akemi Allan, So., field events.Outlook—Reloading. Although stocked with top-shelf talent, it will be hard to replace good athletes such as Zanetra Gordon, Cliff Collins and last year’s revelation, Donavan Brown.
Zama American TrojansCamp Zama/Naval Air Facility Atsugi, JapanCoaches—Mitchell Moellendick, eighth season.Key returners—Roland Cote, So., thrower; Tevin Johnson, Sr., thrower; Malcolm Franklin, Sr., sprinter; Bob Novak, Sr., distance; Te’Asia Snowden, Jr., sprinter, hurdler; Rhona Powell, Sr., sprinter.Key newcomers—Aaliyah Daniels, So., sprinter; Nakia Rodgers, Jr., sprinter; Ian Pope, Fr., thrower, hurdler, jumper; Jonathan Neyland, Jr., sprinter, jumper.Outlook—Rebuilding/reloading. Veteran core returns, but it’s nigh onto impossible to replace All-American Andrew Quallio’s distance abilities.
Kubasaki DragonsCamp Foster, OkinawaCoach—Charles Burns, 21st season.Key returners—A.J. Watson, So., sprinter, jumper; Isiah Harris, Sr., middle distance; Jessica Powell, So., distance; Abbi Wall, Fr., distance; Bianca Johnson, Jr., 400 and relays.Outlook—Reloading. Most of Burns’ athletes are new and unknown, but “that’s the fun part, to have diamonds and move the dirt to find them,” he says. Plenty of non-scoring middle-school runners give Dragons hope for the future.
Kadena PanthersKadena Air Base, OkinawaCoach—Sergio Mendoza, fifth season.Key returners—Thomas McDonald, Jr., sprinter, relays; Lotty Smith, Jr., jumper; James Thompson, Sr., 400, relays; Henry Scott, Sr., sprinter; Riley Witschen, Sr., 400, relays; Chinyere Turner, So., sprinter; Caitlen Miller, Sr., hurdler; Jacob Bishop, Jr., distance; Tomas Sanchez, Jr., distance..Outlook—Reloading. Panthers don’t have the same sprint showcase power they once did, so they’re opting for balance in all events this spring.
Robert D. Edgren EaglesMisawa Air Base, JapanCoach—Mark Williams, first season.Key performers—None given.Outlook—Rebuilding. Program is in early development, new athletes and equipment, cold weather, limited indoor facilities and few returning athletes. “The challenge will be to instill and develop a competitive program at the high-school level,” Williams said.
BaseballImportant baseball dates
Invitational tournamentsThursday, April 8-Saturday, April 10Kubasaki High School Spring Fling, American School In Japan, St. Mary’s International, Seoul American and Kadena vs. Kubasaki at Field 9, Gunners Fitness & Sports Complex, Camp Foster, Okinawa.League championship tournamentsFriday, May 14-Saturday, May 15Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools tournament, Berkey Field and Briggs Bay Field, Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan (hosted by Nile C. Kinnick High School).Far East tournament May 17-20, Rambler Field, Camp Zama, and Bandy Field, Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan (hosted by Zama American High School.
Baseball team capsules
Yokota Panthers Yokota Air Base, JapanCoach—Ernie Carrasco, first season.Key returners—Ross Matsumoto, Sr., SS; Tyler Sharbutt, So, P; Branden Sharbutt, So, 1B.Key newcomers—Christian Namoca, Fr., P; Kei DuPontbriand, Fr., P.Outlook—Rebuilding. Young team comprised primarily of freshmen and sophomores, but team chemistry is good, Carrasco says, and the Panthers will become competitive.
Nile C. Kinnick Red DevilsYokosuka Naval Base, JapanCoach—Michael Valenzuela, second season.Key returners—Taylor Myers, Sr., 3B/1B/P; Kenny Korcal, Sr., CF (led team in steals and bunt singles last season); David Mason, Jr., C/1B; Richard Dromerhauser, So., SS; Andrew Hurst, So., 3B/P; Fransico Quiocho, Sr., OF/2B.Kew newcomers—Donald Ross, So., UT (transfer from Japanese school); Emmit Necaise, Fr.Outlook—Rebuilding/reloading. It won’t be possible to replace departed pitching studs Eddy Davis and Tommy Coyne, but the Red Devils have young prospects. Pitching is definitely rebuilding, but overall Red Devils are reloading.
Zama American TrojansCamp Zama/Naval Air Facility Atsugi, JapanCoaches—Junior Jaquez, first season.Key returners—Arvin Cortez, So., IF; Matt Cole, Jr., IF; Allan Elliott, So, 1B; Stephen Ferrer, So., C/OF; Matthew Freeman, Jr., P; Dominic Labrador, Jr., CF/P; Ricky Martin, Sr., IF; Kenneth Misiaszek, Jr. OF.Outlook—Rebuilding. Looking on developing skills at this point; many newcomers have never played baseball, and some returners still need polish.
Kubasaki DragonsCamp Foster, OkinawaCoach—Randy Toor, fifth season.Key returners—Kaleb Robinson, Sr., C; Patrick “Duck” Duffy, Sr., UT; P.J. Varner, Sr., P/SS; Mateo Sanchez, Sr., CF; Cody Everett, Sr., LF; Josh Jones, Sr., 3B.Key newcomers—Andrew Estes, Jr., IF/P (from Texas and Virginia); Joe Girbach, Jr., OF (North Carolina); Josh Bales, Sr., 2B.Outlook—Reloading/contending. Returners at almost every position. Defense should be solid; consistent hitting may be a worry, as might pitching depth. But on paper, Dragons look a solid Far East contender.
Kadena PanthersKadena Air Base, OkinawaCoach—Ken Gamon, second season.Key returners—Ryan “Yogi” Yerger, Sr., P/IF; Blaine Ramarui, Sr., OF; Norman Correa, Sr., P/IF; Michael Correa, Jr; Jayce Moore, Jr.; Sean Leon Guerrero, Jr.; Cody Warner, So.; Nick Breier, So.Outlook—Reloading. Eight varsity players return, but none have been associated with a program that won an island championship against Kubasaki.
Seoul American Falcons Yongsan Garrison, South KoreaCoach—Bob Heckerl, third season.Key returners—Colton Heckerl, Jr., P/SS; Greg Morris, Jr., P/2B; Zack Briggs, Sr., P/OF; Casey Donovan, So., C/IF/P; Chris Horton, So., UT/P; Chung Winchip, So., OF.Key newcomers—Billy Harrah, Fr., P/1B; Will Catineau, Fr., OF; Nate Simpson, Fr., OF/2B; Ryan Bittner, Fr., OF.Outlook—Contender. Younger than last year’s team, but chemistry is solid, talent level is higher, pitching is plentiful and the middle infield could be the best in the region.
Robert D. Edgren EaglesMisawa Air Base, JapanCoach—Brett Lehner, third season.Key returners—Chase Grant, Jr., 1B; Charles Washington, So., 2B/OF; Xavier Major, Jr., 2B/OF.Key newcomers—Jesse Rice, So., SS; Sayer Austin, Jr., P/IF (transfer from Yokota); Christian Wolfewicz, Fr., P/IF; Joel Balmforth, So., C/1B.Outlook—Rebuilding. No seniors and just three juniors; most of the team is new faces learning how to play together as a team. The work ethic and motivation are there; just a matter of how quickly they develop.
Daegu American WarriorsCamp George, South KoreaCoach—Michael Downes, second season.Key returners—David Martinez, Sr., SS/LF; David Silva, Sr.; Christian Dawes, Jr.; Tre Griffin, Jr., P/3B; Nico Nunez, So.; Ayrton Hilton, So.; Jonathan Philley, So.
Osan American CougarsOsan Air Base, South KoreaCoach—David Hemmer, first season.Key returners—Joe Arocho, Sr., OF/SS; Brendan Myers, Sr., OF; Adrian Rincon, Sr., OF.Key newcomers—Jeff Tinsley, So., 1B; Damon Flint, So., 3B; Brett Hammontree, So., 2B.Outlook—Rebuilding. Practically all new players and a new coaching staff. Hemmer says he’s hoping to become fundamentally solid by the Far East tournament and try to give the big schools a run for their money.
SoftballImportant softball dates
Invitational tournamentsThursday, April 8-Saturday, April 10Kubasaki High School Spring Fling, American School In Japan, St. Mary’s International, Seoul American and Kadena vs. Kubasaki at Field 9, Gunners Fitness & Sports Complex, Camp Foster, Okinawa.League championship tournaments Friday, May 14-Saturday, May 15Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools tournament, Berkey Field and Briggs Bay Field, Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan (hosted by Nile C. Kinnick High School).Far East tournamentMay 17-20, Rambler Field, Camp Zama, and Bandy Field, Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan (hosted by Zama American High School.
Softball team capsules
Yokota PanthersYokota Air Base, JapanCoach—Michael “Mongo” Martinez, second season. Assistants—Lori Powers, Eric Hord.Key performers—Tjayden Cornell, Jr., P; Markel Davis, Sr., P; Sarah Hamner, Fr., P; Ashley Bellmore, 3B; Elyse Change, LF; Cierera Fitzgerald, CF; Grace Hord, 2B; Julia Marrin, C.Outlook—Reloading/contending. Still young, but nine players return from last season, including two who’ve played at least two seasons. Like most teams, everything depends on how quickly pitching develops.
Nile C. Kinnick Red Devils Yokosuka Naval Base, JapanCoach—Danel MacWhyte, fifth season.Key returners—Amanda Reyes, C-IF; Jordan Hunt, SS; Dusty-Lynn Keolanui-Wilson, OF; Annie Tullos, P.Kew newcomers—Emily Stith, 1B; Hannah Chicowlas, C-OF.Outlook—Rebuilding/reloading. Some experience players return in key positions, but MacWhyte’s two-time DODEA Japan champion Red Devils lack depth at pitching and outfield experience.
Zama American TrojansCamp Zama/Naval Air Facility Atsugi, JapanCoaches—Parish and Veronica Jones, fourth season.Key performers—Alysa Prather, Jr., P; Tiffany Brewer, Jr., 3B; Reina Staley, Jr., 2B; Chanda Elliott, Sr., C; Elisha Nicolas, Sr., CF.Outlook—Rebuilding. Lost several key starters to transfer and graduation. Coaching staff hoping to get some solid performances from the incoming freshman class.
Kubasaki DragonsCamp Foster, OkinawaCoach—Stephanie Davis, first season.Key performers—Leena Seamans, Sr., P; Vanessa Ellis, Sr., C-CF; Veronica Johnston,, Jr., SS; Kaia Young, Sr., LF; Stephanie Vance, Sr., 2B.Key newcomer—Michaela Robinson, Fr., 1B.Outlook—Reloading. Good group of returning players, but pitching lacks depth; Seamans will be asked to replace the yeoman innings of graduated right-hander Carrie Thompson-Davis. Yet this is the only team to beat Kadena last season.
Kadena PanthersKadena Air Base, OkinawaCoach—Jesse Costa, second season.Key returners—Abigail Shapiro-Kinghorn, Sr., SS; Jennifer Jones, Sr., 2B; Chelsey Morgan, Sr., CF; Mary Schweers, Sr., P/2B; Karol Whitfield, Sr., C; Katrina Montez, UT; Melanie Moore, Sr., 1B; Desirae Seals, So., P/3B; Dominique Holcomb, LF.Outlook—Contending, though Costa must replace cornerstone infielder and batsman Shannon Scott, who graduated. Otherwise, it’s a senior-laden veteran group which has designs not just on an eighth straight island title, but a Far East championship on its home turf.
Seoul American FalconsYongsan Garrison, South KoreaCoach—Julian Gudger, first season.Key returners—Maria Garcia, Sr., SS; Katie Darby, Jr., P; Rebecca Garcia, So., C; Hannah Swafford, So., UT.Key newcomers—Kennedy Allen, Sr, OF; Deidre Jones, Fr., OF.Outlook—Contender. Close-knit unit comprised of many who’ve played at least two seasons together, coupled with newcomers of various degrees of skill and maturity. Good assistant coaching core in LaRoy Slaughter and Adolph Garcia.
E.J. King CobrasSasebo Naval Base, JapanCoach—Thomas Wright, first season.Key returners—Kaelum Messer, Sr., P; Mika Taylor, Sr., C; Brittney Fuhrman, Sr., IF.Key newcomers—Sarina Renick, Jr., IF; Nina Navarro, Sr., P.Outlook—Contending. More than 30 players tried out for the team, a school record, with nine of them returning from last season. Could be a special season in Cobra country.
Robert D. Edgren EaglesMisawa Air Base, JapanCoach—Sarah Richardson, second season.Key returners—Da’Pree Davis, CF; Domonique Davis, 3B; Kailee Redulla, P; Janine Russ, 2B; Venita Jones, 1B/P.Key newcomers—Kaitlin Carnall, 1B; Breonna Ruffin, SS/P.Outlook—Rebuilding. Working on developing skills with precious few returnees, and as always, working in wintry conditions the first few weeks of the season. “I feel with time the girls will come around,” Richardson said.
Daegu American WarriorsCamp George, South KoreaCoach—Sandra Inciarte, first year.Key returners—Stephanie Cepiria, Sr., C/CF; Cathy Robinet, Sr., 2B; Alexis Kimble, Jr., P/3B; Alexis Parker, So., SS; Amber de los Santos, Jr., LF/C; Alysia Griego, Fr., LF; Maleah Potts-Cash, So., 1B.Key newcomers—Andrea Hunt, Jr., RF; Linn Jackson, Jr., 1B/2B (transfer from Osan American); Anya Proctor, Jr., 3B; Christina Thompson, Fr., P.Outlook—Rebuilding. Team socked by graduation, many players are new to the sport and a new coach and new system must be worked in. Inciarte feels the team should get stronger and be competitive by spring break.
Osan American CougarsOsan Air Base, South KoreaCoach—Rainetta Brown, first season.Key returners—Christina LaFortune, Sr., C; Vanessa “Joy” Matheny, Jr., OF; Ashley LaFortune, So., IF; Eva Rosales, Sr., P/OF.Key newcomers—Mayayla Hockenberry, Jr., OF (from Fort Lewis, Wash.); Sara Y. Stephens, Fr., IF (from Fort Hood, Texas).Outlook—Rebuilding/reloading. A few strong players return from last year, but quite a few newcomers dot the roster, so much will rest on how quickly they gel and develop.