The first season of team sports for the 2021-22 school year has concluded at XLIS. Students across all divisions had the opportunity to become a Blue Dragon and represent XLIS in different sports competitions. Although there were setbacks due to the resurgence of Covid-19 cases in Xi’an, the presence of more sports teams has made a noticeable contribution to the culture and sense of community at the school.
This year XLIS entered two teams in the “Xi’an Elementary Soccer Conference” organized by Xi’an International School (XIS). The league featured teams from four international schools in Xi’an. The plan was for our students to play a match every weekend for four weeks, and then participate in a final tournament.
The two XLIS teams were divided by year level, with one team made up of P3 and P4 students, and the other made up of P5 and P6 students. Each team was scheduled to play matches against students of the same age from the other schools. Led by their dedicated coaches Mr. Richie, Ms. Stewart, Mr. Barry, and Ms. Marly, the students trained every Monday and Wednesday after school for eight weeks.
Unfortunately, the resurgence of covid-19 cases in Xi’an caused the league to be cut short. Nevertheless, the P5/6 team was still able to play three matches against Hanova and two teams from Dehong. They finished the league with 1 win, 1 loss, and 1 draw. A highlight for the P5/6 team was the match against Dehong played during class time in front of all their peers.
High School Volleyball (M4-DP2)
XLIS is a member of the Association of China and Mongolia International Schools (ACAMIS) Sports League. One of the core sports of this sports league is volleyball. Therefore, to further the goal of participating in the full range of ACAMIS sports competitions, a high school volleyball team was created for the first time.
The team was made up of students from M4-DP2. With a view to the long-term development of the sport at XLIS, the team was co-ed. This means girls and boys played together on the same team. For most students it was their first time playing on an organized volleyball team. Nevertheless, after eight weeks of training by their coach Mr. Halim, the squad grew into a coherent unit that played with confidence.
Once again covid-19 put a damper on the plans for a final tournament with other international schools in the city. However, the Blue Dragons volleyball team was still able to play two friendly matches against XIS, losing the first and winning the second. To make up for the cancellation of the final tournament, the students were treated to a friendly match against their teachers and a pizza party afterwards. The students beat the students 3-2, with Ian Waweru earning 15 straight points from his serve to clinch the victory.
Middle School Boys’ Basketball (M1-M3)
Building upon the momentum of the 2021 Xi’an Elementary School International Basketball League, a middle school team was formed for the first time at XLIS. The goal for this team is to provide continuity for the students who participate in the PYP league and aspire to represent XLIS one day in the Chang’an Cup. By offering a team for the middle years, students will be able to maintain the chemistry of playing with the same teammates for many years. With a strong cohort of students entering M1, this was the perfect year to create a middle school basketball team.
Led by Mr. Boudreau and Mr. Puchalski, the MYP basketball team played one game against Gaoxin Number 1 East Campus before restrictions were put in place that stopped interschool sport. To keep the spirit of the students high and offer a memorable finish to the season, the team was split into two for a “derby” match in front of the entire middle school.
The match was played on a Wednesday morning during the first two periods and pitted teammates against one another. XLIS Blue came out with an early lead before XLIS White stormed back to take a large double-digit advantage. However, XLIS Blue showed resilience and narrowed the different to only four points in the final three minutes. In the end, XLIS White were able to hang on and leave with the victory.
ACAMIS Upper School Cross Country (M1-DP2)
Another first for XLIS this semester was the creation of a cross country team that was prepared to compete at the ACAMIS Sports League Cross Country Invitational. This team was open to all students from M1-DP2 with two target distances: 3KM for students under 14 years old and 5KM for students 14-19 years old. Participation and interest in cross country grew throughout the season, with eighteen students running weekly by November.
Once again, covid-19 protocols prevent the team from participating in its final tournament. This was particularly disappointing because it would have been the first ACAMIS travel tournament XLIS would have ever participated in. Nevertheless, with a bit of extra planning, the coaches Mr. McGarry, Ms. Dolman, and Mr. Wright were able to organize a race at the Fenghe Liangjiatan Wetland Park nearby the school.
Season Two Begins
With the end of season one, the start of season two has begun. Only three teams will train in the second season and the focus is on basketball. The high school boys have already been training for months in preparation for the Chang’an Cup in January. The high school girls have now begun to prepare for the same tournament that will be held on January 14-15 at XLIS. The third team is middle school girls’ basketball, which is training girls from M1 to M3. In a similar manner to the middle school boys’ team, the goal of this team is to provide continuity and build chemistry among a group of students that can compete together for many years to come.
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Author: Zach Dwyer (P6A Homeroom Teacher, ACAMIS Athletics Coordinator)