Fall Sports Recap

Article by Sam Barbir, Writer

Reading Time: 6 minutes

The 2022 Fall season witnessed new changes across multiple sports. With COVID restrictions slowly lifting, fans were allowed back, and trips began to be reintroduced. Mustangs traveled both to places across the country as well as overseas, competing against schools across Asia. Below are interviews from coaches and players from all teams this Fall, recapping their respective seasons. 


When giving their overall thoughts on the season, captains Gregor Rolls, Stefan Merino, and Joey Schulz talked about the unity and strength they showed as the season progressed, despite the struggles in the beginning, as well as the improvement that materialized as the season went on. Senior Joey Schulz described it as “a transition year”, as for ASIJ, this was their first season back in full contact, whereas many of the teams they faced had been able to practice and play fully throughout COVID. Another factor to consider was that much of the team was new, but as the season went on, Merino noted that “the future of [the] team is really bright”, and that they’re looking forward to the future. 

Some key moments in the season included their trip to Okinawa to play Kubasaki, the number-one ranked team. After coming off a tough loss, there was a lot of nervous energy going against such a strong opponent, but the team ended up scoring a very close game, which brought in a lot of new strong morale. This boost powered the team towards strong wins at the end of the season, improving their record. Senior Gregor Rolls summarized their team spirit with the quote, “it’s not about the size of the dog in the fight, it’s about the size of the fight in the dog”


When talking to Coach Thiel, cheer started off on a positive note, for due to fewer COVID restrictions, the team was able to learn “more complex skills and stunts earlier in the season”, which allowed for them to be showcased in games. 

Some memorable moments included both games against Yokota, the first of the two battling through extreme weather conditions and the second one being able to showcase what they missed the first time around. 

When asked about what makes Cheer so special compared to other sports, Coach Thiel talked about the mix of both athleticism and performance that’s required for good audience engagement. She also mentioned the specialty of Cheer where opposing cheer teams don’t necessarily “compete against one another”, but rather encourage one another “as if they were each other’s biggest fans”. 

Cross Country

For the first time since the 2019 fall season due to COVID, the cross country teams were able to run races at Tama hills again, the local cross country course. Girls and Boys were also able to travel overseas to Guam for the Asia-Pacific invitational, where they competed against schools from all over the Asia-Pacific region. The Boys’ team was able to cap off the season undefeated, winning Kanto Finals, the Asia Pacific Invitational Championship, and the Kanto Invitational Championship. 

When describing some of the best team moments, coach Suzuki recalls how towards the end of the season, all his runners were in peak shape, hitting their splits during interval workouts perfectly as an entire group, encapsulating the team camaraderie that played a large role in their success this season. Senior Kai Hyodo also describes his favorite moment as the relay race in Guam, where after a hard-fought two days, the boys and girls were able to finish together on the beach. 

When asked what is something specific to their sport that they think is great, both Coach Suzuki and Coach Rolls emphasized the commitment and consistency that is so important in seeing improvement, given the sport is so clear cut with how it’s timed. Coach Rolls quoted that a motto that she really instilled in her team was, “you have to get comfortable being uncomfortable”, something they believe sums up their sport well. 


Despite being plagued by rain and unfavorable weather all season, the varsity tennis team achieved many successes both on an individual (or pair) and team level. Coming off an undefeated regular season, girls varsity had an excellent showing at Kanto Finals with freshman Lina Chung in the final round of the singles tournament and senior Mahima Dattaguru and junior Sriya Thota facing off against juniors Risa Bernier and Saki Kuramoto in an all-ASIJ doubles final. Their performance throughout the season and in Finals earned the girls’ team first place in the Kanto league. 

The boys also had a successful season, only losing to St. Mary’s in the regular season and earning a respectable second place at Kanto Finals. Junior Jake Chon was optimistic about the season saying, “We were able to grow as a team and although there were times when we could have been better as a team, overall it was a good season.” Freshman Billy Freund added that the team had room to grow still, notably by “beating St. Mary’s.” 

Varsity tennis’ Finals success occurred not at ASIJ’s Chofu campus, as it had been for the past few years, but in Chiba where the team traveled for a multi-day trip. Along with the on-court success, senior Koharu Matsuki said that the trip “was super fun” and the team was “able to bond a lot.” 

Coach Wacha was pleased with the many victories of the fall season, but said the best moments of the season were simply “whenever we could get on the court and the weather was beautiful for us.” 

Boys Volleyball 

The Boys’ volleyball team, although only being at ASIJ for 3 years, had a strong season, finishing third in the Yujo tournament. Junior Ayden Carreon reminded us that despite other

teams having longer-standing boys’ volleyball programs, such as YIS, who was also very senior-heavy, the ASIJ boys’ team was able to show a lot of fight against them, showing promise for the future. Coach Vriend also touched on the rapid development of the program and how many of the players have shown in such a short span of time, as proven by the rebound from losses early on in the season. 


Girls Volleyball 

The Girls’ volleyball team also saw a season that was fully back to normal since pre-covid times, where fans were allowed to games and were able to travel to Okinawa. When recapping the season overall, both Coach Ortwein and Captain Senior Aisha Rakyan talked about the busy schedule of multiple games a week and three tournaments throughout the season, but being able to come together as a team and have “a lot of fun while also staying competitive”. 

When asked about the best team moment, both also mentioned the trip to Okinawa, where they narrowly made it into the gold bracket by just one single point, and also beat rivals Seisen. 

Something that makes Volleyball so special is the coming together as a team after every point to support one another, through both “the good and the bad moments”, per Coach Ortwein. Captain Aisha Rakyan also highlighted the team aspect of it, and how each player plays a vital role which helps create an environment where the “trust aspect” becomes crucial in building a strong team.