Article by: Margarita Te
From September 16th to 18th, a number of ISM athletes traveled to Thailand and Singapore for this school year’s very first Pre-IASAS tournament, often dubbed, “Pre-I”. The cross country and varsity soccer teams competed in Bangkok, while the volleyball teams vied against other IASAS schools in Singapore.
At the end of the tournament, boys volleyball placed third, girls volleyball placed second, boys cross country placed third, and girls cross country placed fourth. Meanwhile, the boys soccer team had one loss, one win, and one draw, and the girls soccer team had two losses and one draw. The cross country runners’ performances were truly exceptional, as it must be noted that they competed against not just a few IASAS participants but athletes from over 10 other schools at the special meet they attended in Thailand.
From an outsider’s perspective, the results brought back by the athletes as they returned to Manila may appear to be quite successful given the high standards of the IASAS pool; however, many players with high expectations thought otherwise. Sophomore Madison M., from varsity soccer, says she “[doesn’t think their] results at Pre-I are a good reflection of [their] skill level as a team,” as the girls were unfortunately unable to pull off a win in the three games, despite an overly successful start to their local season.
Over the course of two days, these Bearcats spent the majority of their time on the court or field, putting their hours of training to the test and playing intense matches versus other schools. In the nature of IASAS, the collective highlights of Pre-IASAS were not only the games themselves, but also getting to know teammates, hosts, and students from other schools. Junior varsity volleyball player Aaditya J. said that he particularly enjoyed “bonding with the team.” Likewise, Sambhav M., a sophomore and novice on the boys varsity soccer team, said, “My favorite part was dinner with my hosts outside, because there were about 15 of us, and though we were from different schools, all of us understood each other. Everyone felt at home, and it was really great to see that everyone was laughing on and off the field.”
Compared to local matches and competitions, most find that the performance standards at both Pre-I and IASAS are at a higher level.
“Pre-IASAS matches were a lot more intense than local matches, because the teams we played in local matches were not as determined to win as the other IASAS schools,” says Sambhav. Similarly, at her first Pre-IASAS, Lina S., a junior cross-country runner, discovered “local meets were a lot different because [at Pre-I] you’re surrounded by other international schools that chose their runners to represent them.” Although nerve-wracking, this helped her by serving as motivation during the race.
Additionally, Madison M. says, “The other IASAS school teams are always full of great players and since we only get to compete with them twice a year, we never know exactly what to expect from a team, causing us to have to be on our A-game for every match.”
Despite shared feelings of anxiety, Aaditya stated, “At Pre-I, I was a lot more pumped and excited for games compared to ones in Manila.”
In retrospect, the Pre-IASAS athletes believe that there is much to improve on before they encounter their international opponents again on October 20th.
Senior Juliana A., captain of the girls volleyball team, says, “Even though I think we did well considering we won most of our matches by a good number of points and were able to control most of the games we played,” the tournament has “definitely helped us realize the weaknesses we need to work on.” She emphasizes the importance of Pre-IASAS as a “great way to not only scout the other teams, but also bond as one and get a taste of possible outcomes during IASAS.”
The teams’ experiences at Pre-I have undoubtedly amplified their motivation, confidence, and hopes to win the coveted gold; thus, with that, the Bearcat community is avidly counting down the days until first season IASAS.