Article by Sacha Bindra
Before the frenzy of hosting badminton and golf IASAS settles in at ISM, this season’s varsity athletes travelled across Southeast Asia to participate in the Pre-IASAS exchange. From March 10-11, Bearcat athletes visited Bangkok, Taipei, and Kuala Lumpur to compete in sports such as baseball, track and field, badminton, or softball. The event essentially works as a “trial run,” where teams can become acclimated to working together in a situation similar to that of an actual IASAS tournament. Upon their return to Manila, each team had different sentiments regarding the exchange. However, each group used their past experience to learn and grow in preparation for third season IASAS.
For the softball team, this exchange was an opportunity for the players to familiarize themselves with a new sport. Having made the transition between slow pitch to fast pitch softball, junior Ali P. says, “The biggest challenge…is having to learn basically a new sport, new rules, and new techniques.”
Another obstacle was the fact that the team consisted largely of new players. Ali adds that with so few returning players, “Winning our first game against Jakarta was pretty memorable.” With this noteworthy win under their belt, Ali concludes that their goal for IASAS will be “to just play our best…and to hopefully come back with a medal!”
Similarly, both girls and boys badminton headed to Taipei. Like the softball exchange, many of ISM’s players were underclassmen. Senior Sophy M. recalls, “I initially went in with the mindset that this should just be a fun learning experience…but we actually performed very well and I’m proud of the girls for that.”
With so many players being new to IASAS tournaments, experienced players worked twice as hard to take underclassmen under their wing. Badminton is unique as players compete alone or in pairs, making it difficult for the entire team to remain motivated at all times. Regardless, Sophy said, “We can show the whole school what we really can do since IASAS is at home.”
Sophomore Madison M. notes that attending Pre-I without seniors placed a strain on the track and field team as well. Despite their lack of experienced athletes, the fresh faces energized the team, allowing the Bearcats “to take gold, silver, and bronze medals in so many events across the board!” Even though a number of athletes coped with injuries, Madison says, “Everyone is now really motivated to work hard in training and hopefully grab that medal at IASAS that we just barely missed last year.”
Whether it be baseball, softball, badminton, or track and field, it’s clear that the athletes from each sport have used this exchange to their utmost advantage. Each team took the obstacles they faced in a stride, working admirably to prepare for IASAS.