Top billing goes to Coach Hirai, Coach Yoneda, and the girls volleyball team who dominated the 2018 AISA tournament held at Seoul International School, conceding only one set in four matches, and dismantling the Dragons of Yokohama International School in the finals, three sets to none. All-tournament team members are Yulia Ikumi, Asumi Muto, and new SIS 11th grader Miharu Otake whose thunderous spikes were like many sale items from Amazon - nonreturnable, no matter how hard you try. Otake, who spent the past four years in the US, credits her jumping ability and power to the strength training she did there. Otake says, "Strength, speed, and jump training has really benefited my explosiveness, flexibility, and coordination. And I think it has helped prevent injuries, for me, anyways. I hope more Sabers athletes, boys and girls, will learn how to do athletic multi-joint compound exercises like cleans and squats. It made a big difference for me. An AISA championship made all the hard work worth it."
Coach Mitsuhashi, Coach Majima, and the boys volleyball team traveled to International School Busan with high hopes of repeating their 2017 AISA championship, but fell short of that, losing to Yokohama International School in the consolation match to finish in 4th place. Richie Dix and Neo Yokoyama were named to the all-tournament team. With only one senior – Fumiya Okabe – and two freshmen, the Sabers are already looking forward to a better finish next year.
SOIS hosted the second annual AISA cross country meet at Senri Kita Koen. The meet featured freshly mowed grass (thank goodness), perfect weather (thank goodness), and a thrilling finish in the opening race (oh my goodness!). In the first race of the meet, the men’s 1st and 2nd seed individual race, OIS junior Riki Sampson came from behind in the final 50 meets to edge a surprised KIS runner at the line by 0.13 seconds. (See photos below.) A tired but elated Sampson told reporters, “I miscounted and thought there was one more lap, so I was saving my energy. Fortunately, I realized my error just in time. I was always better at sprinting than at math.” Sampson's AISA victory was the big highlight for an SOIS team that finished in 3rd place out of four teams, a long 89 points behind champions KIS. The Sabers had only four boys on the team, so their scores were “pushed” too high to make any run at a better finish. All-meet members were Miki Fujito, Karin Iwaki, Tyus Sheriff, and Riki Sampson. The Sabers won the “fair play” award, a great testament to the spirit and camaraderie of the team. Coach Munemasa and Coach Cheney look forward to building up team numbers and team speed in the upcoming years.
Be sure to check out the cross country webpage for more details and photos.
Congratulations to all Sabers 2018 fall season high school teams, managers, and coaches.
Below: Sabers 1st seed runner Riki Sampson (left, black uniform) chases down a started KIS Phoenix runner and crosses the finish line just 0.13 seconds ahead to capture the 2018 AISA men’s individual championship.