By: Maya K. (’24)
With the craze of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the Taipei American School sports schedules are in flux and the athletics department is looking for ways to make up for the cancellation of the Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asia Schools (IASAS) tournaments as well as focusing on second season sports.
Season 1 IASAS was canceled on Aug. 13 during a student-athlete briefing while Season 2 IASAS was canceled on Oct. 20 through an email sent out by Upper School Principal Mr. Andrew Lowman.
“This was not an email I was thrilled to have to send, but one that I think we all knew was coming,” Mr. Lowman said in a message to Season 2 athletes.
IASAS conferences provide the main sporting events during each sports season, and they provide a time when athletes from different schools come together to compete. Six different international schools from southeast Asia take part in the competitions and hundreds of athletes participate. Pre-IASAS is held before the official tournaments as preparation. Typically, the formal IASAS sporting competitions are held three times a year for the three seasons.
However, as this was not possible this year, many of the Season 1 varsity athletes were disappointed by the cancellation of IASAS. “All the sports teams put in a lot of work throughout the season and the thing [that] they are most looking forward to is IASAS,” varsity volleyball player Candice Hsu (‘23) said.
As the year continues, the IASAS board is constantly reassessing the conditions of COVID-19. For now, though, it is uncertain whether there will be any IASAS events this year. “I think [student athletes] are disappointed, but I think they also showed some resilience,” TAS Athletics Director Ms. Kim Kawamoto said.
In an email sent to all IASAS schools, the IASAS board said: “All schools have agreed to an ongoing examination of factors in the chance that future IASAS events remaining on this school year’s calendar may go on” IASAS Secretary, Mr. Jacob M. Stockman said. “Our conference remains open to the possibility of a replacement championship for cancelled events if circumstances change in the near future.”
Though there is no scheduled IASAS tournament in sight, some teams are participating in local events and tournaments. The girls cross country team took part in the 2020 Taishin Women’s Run Taipei on Aug. 23, where they placed third. On Oct. 3, the girls volleyball team participated in an over-night tournament in Sanchong where they placed second. On Nov. 12 the boys varsity rugby team played a series of games at TAS against Luodong Vocational Senior High and National Taiwan Ocean University. On Nov. 21 the girls varsity basketball team played Morrison Christian Academy as well as Neihu Senior High in a small tournament where they won all three games.
Some IASAS events have been able to conduct virtual tournaments through these unprecedented times. One notable example is the International School of Bangkok virtual cross country tournament held in October. The varsity boys finished second while three varsity girls placed in the top 15 and another eight girls placed in the top 50.
“Regardless of whether we have IASAS or not, I still think everybody is engaged and that they’re putting out the effort,” Ms. Kawamoto said.