Exchange rugby and tennis highlights tries and aces

Practice. Hard work. Action. After months of preparation and liters of perspiration, our Eagles were ready for their first major competition of the year.

Athletes from the rugby and tennis teams are progressively preparing themselves for the ultimate goal of capturing gold in their IASAS championships, and the Exchange from Nov. 21 to Nov. 23 was an important step in that direction.

Bangkok International School hosted this year’s tennis Exchange, where both the SAS boys and girls were able to experience the newly built tennis facilities. SAS tennis athletes competed against International School of Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta International School, Bangkok Patana School and hosts Bangkok International School.

Freshman Cesar Cernuda said, “This year’s exchange in Bangkok was my first. I really felt like it gave the whole team an opportunity to have a full day of match play, which is something that we cannot get here in Singapore.”

On the first day after arriving in Bangkok, the SAS boys and girls both played against ISKL in a late night matchup. Although the players were exhausted after a long day of flying and bus rides, the SAS tennis teams managed to overpower and display fine tennis to win every single match against ISKL.

Three more ties were waiting in the second day of competition. The boys’ team, led by seniors Ethan Fisher, Hanson Cho and Stefan Kingsley, encountered their toughest competition against JIS. Although Alex Makatsaria brought an easy victory with a score of 8-1 against first singles Enrique Garcia, the rest of the matches were a bit more challenging.

Captains Stefan Kingsley and Hanson Cho discuss strategy before their match against JIS. Photo by Frans Grimbergen.

Hanson Cho was 1-4 down when his opponent, Harrison Soegriata, fell to the ground and decided to retire. In the last singles match of the tie, Stefan Kingsley was defeated in a close battle against Diego Garcia. The two doubles could have gone either way; however, Michael Chu and Hiroto Kozue were able to win the first doubles match, while Ethan Fisher and Nick Cosgrove narrowly lost in the second doubles position. Later that day the SAS boys had easier victories against BPS and ISB to secure victories against all schools.

Alex Makatsaria, a singles player on the SAS team, said, “I always felt that Jakarta was going to be our hardest competition for this year’s IASAS, so getting that hard fought victory in Exchange really gave not only me, but the rest of the team, hope for a chance to get an IASAS gold next semester.”

The girls’ tennis team, led by Paola Hoffer and Nadia Kim, dominated this year’s Exchange. The packed line-up saw the SAS girls overpower fellow IASAS members – both JIS and ISB – on the second day of competition. However, the match against Bangkok Patana School was a challenge for our girls’ team. The first doubles pairing of Zoe Adamopoulos and Paola Hoffer and second singles player Hayden were the lone victors against BPS.

Senior Paola Hoffer, the captain of the SAS girls’ team, described Exchange to be less about the competition and more about the dynamics of her players.

“The team is a lot more tightly knitted. We have people who really get along with each other. And that’s super important because everyone supports one another and wants one another to perform well. So that positivity really improves our overall game, and it definitely contributes to our success,” Hoffer said.

SAS boys’ and girls’ varsity tennis team after a successful Exchange. Photo by Frans Grimbergen.

Jakarta International School hosted this year’s varsity boys’ rugby Exchange. The participating schools were ISB, ISKL, SAS and hosts JIS. The tournament results were a disappointment to the boys’ team. After winning the IASAS tournament last year, all the other schools were gunning for SAS this year. Jeremy Seow, captain in the rugby team, said that with many of the players either sick or injured, it was very difficult to find the usual success.

“We started the first halves off well, but we always let the other team run away with it in the second half. The other teams were really good this year,” Seow said.

At this year’s exchange, Seow explained that sophomore Will DiBagio had a very good tournament. DiBagio was successful in both his offense and defense as he made many hard tackles and performed devastating defense. The forwards – Stuart Baker, Cameron Jope, Matt Meehan and Alex Keim – were also top performers. Senior Ken Yen said that to secure more wins and fewer losses, “we need to hit cardio every day. We need fitness and fitness is fun.”

Will DiBiagio, the top performer from the boys team against ISKL. Photo by Andre DiBiagio.

The girls’ rugby team stayed in Singapore for this year’s exchange and played in a slightly bigger tournament than any other event at Exchange. Participating in the Asian All Schools competition, SAS was among four pools of five under-18 teams. The SAS girls had great results after three long and demanding days of play. They eventually lost to silver medalists Tanglin Trust School 3-0 in the semi-finals. Throughout the tournament the SAS girls had a chance to play and defeat three of the IASAS schools. SAS won 5-2 against ISB, 4-1 against ISKL and 3-0 against JIS.

Girls’ touch rugby captain Katie Devins explained that they “had a good tournament and really worked well as a team. Everyone showed what they were made of and had fun.”

Injuries were a problem for the girls’ team as well. Junior Sophia Law missed the entire tournament after spraining her ankle during the first game of the weekend. Additionally, senior Kiana Baghaie hurt her lower back during the course of the competition. Watching and cheering from the sidelines, Law said, “Katie was our team’s standout, she really knows how to read and take control of the game.”

Singapore American School had yet another successful Exchange this season. Our Eagles’ rugby and tennis teams displayed high levels of play and were able to bring back praiseworthy results.

“Exchange has shown us that we have the potential to capture the gold medal. From now on the only big challenge that awaits us is IASAS,” said senior Ethan Fisher.

Author: Stefan Kingsley

Stefan Kingsley is a Senior and a Reporter for The Eye. This is his first year on staff and sixth year at SAS. He is originally from Chennai, India but has lived in Singapore for the past 14 years. In his free time, Stefan enjoys playing tennis and running at the track.

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