Breaking records and making history in another IASAS-less season


The Taipei American School athletics program has taken some hard hits from the COVID-19 coronavirus, to say the least. From masked practices and empty bleachers to the cancellation of four total seasons of IASAS championship tournaments, the athletic department and all the teams have had to persevere through unprecedented times. However, the unfortunate situation has not taken away from the level of sports at TAS. Throughout the recently completed season three, which consists of track & field, softball, baseball, badminton and golf, numerous records were broken and expectations were exceeded as the senior class of 2021 made their final mark on the athletics program. 



The track & field season was certainly one for the record books. The team held a couple of meets at school along with a culminating event with one other school. They split the roster into TAS Blue and TAS Gold teams, with Team Gold winning the tight race by one point. A total of six school records were broken; Maya Rosenshield (‘21) broke the shot put and discus records while holding on to her javelin record from last year to achieve the “throwing trifecta.” Maud Zwaenepoel (‘22) broke the 100-meter hurdle and 400- meter hurdle records, William Chen (‘21) broke the 110- meter hurdle record, and Max Lin (‘23) broke the 100- meter record. “It was incredible how much fun the team had this year. They were a cohesive, supportive, and enjoyable group of people,” Mr. Julian Thornbury, track and field head coach, said. 


The softball team was able to really challenge themselves this season, playing against some top-notch local competition in Taiwan. Although they did not have a full tournament, they were able to take a day trip to Hsinchu to play a double header against Wufong Junior High. Many players had outstanding individual seasons, with Sarah Johnsen (‘21) hitting the first over-the-fence homerun in TAS fastpitch softball history and Sabrina Hsu (‘21) ending the season with a team high batting average of .524. “The team really gelled together on the field this year,” Ms. Hannah Limmer, associate athletic director and softball head coach, said. “I’m especially proud of how the seniors set a positive example for our younger players, they definitely left it all on the field, as well as made a mark on the program.” 



The baseball team was able to play many local games, traveling to Dazhi every Saturday to play a double header, playing a tournament in Neihu as a Pre-IASAS tournament replacement, and finally playing four games in Hualien as an IASAS tournament replacement. The team has made some great accomplishments this season, with the pitchers nearing their team goal of throwing 60 percent strikes. “We are moving away from having to spend all of our time teaching the specific skills and spending more time on how to use those skills in situations to win games,” Mr. Jason Thornberg, baseball team head coach, said. “I feel like we are playing our best baseball right now which would be perfect timing in an IASAS year.” The baseball team is also known for their energetic and cohesive team spirit.“I am proud of the boys for pulling together this year and working to erase some of the barriers that separate other teams such as age, grade, and experience,” Mr. Thornberg said. 



The girls badminton team had a very impressive overall season despite their two- year IASAS drought. The team has historically been very strong, with 16 IASAS gold medals won in a row before last year. The team was still able to join a couple tournaments this season, including a local tournament in February where they won first and second place and two home tournaments. The team captains also organized a mixed tournament over Spring Break with the boys badminton team, which included Mixed Doubles games and Mixed Team events. “Singles #1” player Alicia Wang (‘23) and “Singles #2” player Ashley Kuo (‘23) both had incredible individual seasons, each playing against tough opponents and finishing with many hard-fought victories. “Doubles #1” team Chichi Wang (‘22) and Emily Lu (‘22) had multiple wins this season, and they were able to defeat the former IASAS #1 Doubles All-Tournament alumni partners. “Even if the external motivation for winning IASAS isn’t available, they embrace the ‘Mamba mentality’, the desire to get better every day they are in the gym,” Mr. Joey Chen, girls badminton head coach, said. 



The boys badminton team, which consists of an impressive group of seven seniors, had a great season. As an IASAS-replacement tournament, they hosted an exchange weekend at TAS, playing in an IASAS format. After some intense games, the TAS 1 team came in second and TAS 2 team came in third. The team was led by Richard Wang (‘21), who dominated the first singles position, and Douglas Lee (‘21), who played doubles with a high level of skill and natural ability. “I am so proud of our team not only because of their badminton gameplay, but also because of their character, attitude and support of each other- just like a family,” Ms. Chia Chi Huang, boys badminton head coach, said. “I would also like to thank the seniors for making this the best possible season and helping the younger players prepare for next year. They held the team together and clearly made their mark here at TAS.” 



The girls golf team was able to fight through some tough weather conditions along with the absence of IASAS to have the best season possible. The team was able to compete against each year during Match Play contests at the National Golf course, featuring intense competition and pressure situations just like IASAS. Two freshmen were able to post scores in the 70’s, and during match play a player hit birdie, par, and birdie to finish out a tough match. When asked to describe the overall season, Mr. David Iverson, girls golf head coach, said: “Challenging weather on the course, good competition amongst the team, and the forging of a team to be reckoned with at IASAS when the time comes!” 



The boys golf team this year consisted of many freshmen and sophomore players, and they were able to complete another successful season while training hard for the bright future ahead. The team was able to have a couple of Saturday outings to golf courses to compete. The Varsity and JV teams had 14 players, and this year there was a team that all shot under 100 in their first tryout, which was a first in TAS boys golf history. Daniel Ku (‘21) led the team as the only senior this year. “Daniel was a leader by example and showed that persistence and practicing hard pays off,” Mr. Matt Parenteau, boys golf head coach, said.