NAHA, Okinawa – It looks as if there will be three new faces at this year’s 4th Rumble on the Rock wrestling tournament at Kubasaki High School.

DODDS officials, coaches and tournament organizers confirmed Friday that Seoul American, Osan American and Daegu American of South Korea will travel to Okinawa for the two-day tournament scheduled for Jan. 28-29.

The three schools will compete against Kubasaki and Kadena in the combined dual-meet and individual-freestyle tournament. Kadena and Kubasaki are two of the most decorated programs in DODDS Pacific Far East Tournament history with 27 combined team titles.

Seoul American coach Julian Harden expressed excitement at the opportunity - the first time that the three Korea schools will have their travel funded for an in-season invitational.

“The time frame is perfect for us,” Harden said of the event, which takes place at the end of the instructional second quarter. “It gives us time to come back and work on things.”

Especially for the three schools’ younger wrestlers, it will be an “eye opener,” Harden said. “We’ll be facing quality wrestling programs. It gives us an idea of what to anticipate what we’ll face when we go” to the Far East tournament next month at South Korea’s Camp Humphreys.

The trip to Okinawa likely means the last tri-meet of the DODDS Korea regular season, which had Seoul and Osan originally scheduled to travel to Daegu on Jan. 29, will be pushed back to Feb. 6.

Since its inception in 2008, Rumble had featured three Tokyo-area international schools, who until this year had been barred from competing in Far East tournaments.

That ban was lifted last spring, and now American School In Japan, St. Mary’s International and Christian Academy Japan have been invited and indicated they will participate at Far East.

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Dave Ornauer has been employed by or assigned to Stars and Stripes Pacific almost continuously since March 5, 1981. He covers interservice and high school sports at DODEA-Pacific schools and manages the Pacific Storm Tracker.

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