Division realignment creates doubt

During the first home game against KIS, Jeeho Oh jumps up for spike while Jeff Jung hustles up behind him to cover the spot in case the ball is blocked.

Janice Kim, News Editor

The undefeated record of the boys varsity volleyball team and the third place record for the girls varsity volleyball team have raised questions and doubts on the effectiveness of the new sports division alignment.

Based on how the varsity volleyball teams have progressed throughout the Fall sports season, the issue on the division shift to play against less competitive schools is raising questions as both the girls and boys volleyball team have had a successive and less challenging season.

Most of the schools from Division 1 like SAHS, DAHS, OAHS, SFS, TCIS, and YISS are now grouped in Five-cities division, also known to be geographically categorized for regions in Seoul, Daegu, Osan, Taejon, and Uijongbu, with the addition of ICS-U. GSIS, however, has joined the Tri-cities division, mostly organized with schools from Division 2 such as ICS-P, CCS, KKFS, APIS, with SIS and KIS.

Kris Park, co-captain of the girls volleyball team was disappointed being a part of the Tri-cities division. “It means that we get less opportunities to compete with other stronger and better teams and this eventually means we won’t be able to learn more though our experiences and develop our skills by competing against them.”

Coach Villareal of the varsity boys volleyball team feels that there was less competition for the boys this season, but also believes it was a very humbling experience for the boys to play in the Tri-cities division.

Jeff Jung, the captain of the boys varsity volleyball team said, “we’re already league Champions for the KAIAC conference with an undefeated record and somehow it’s a good thing to win first place with no defeats, but on the other side, it was a bit disappointing to have a lesser competitive season than what we are used to having in Division 1.”

Although the numbers of schools from each division are now balanced, Mr. Ivison, the new athletic director for the school, raises questions for the currently applied re-alignment and believes “there should be sports-based divisions,” not school-based divisions.

“Sports team in the same school differ in level and competitiveness” says Jeff. “That’s why automatically going down to tri-cities division for all sports doesn’t make sense.”

Sonya Chung, the co-captain of the girls varsity volleyball team, also said “competing in the Tri-cities division is not that challenging for our team.” Jeff and Sonya both questioned the new alignment based on schools and are hoping for a better system.

It became obvious to the teams that the realignment did not work during the friendly matches against Five-cites teams YISS and TCIS. On Sept. 5 the girls varsity volleyball team triumphed over YISS, 3:2. The YISS friendly game “was the biggest victory they ever had,” commented Mr. Rains.

The boys varsity volleyball team was victorious against TCIS on Oct. 19. Already determined to be League Champions in Tri-cities division, the boys team had their highest confidence in playing against TCIS, division 1 champions from last year.  The boys beat TCIS 3:1. The performance shown during the boys game demonstrated how much they improved and that they are capable of competing against Five-cities schools.

After observing whether the division is appropriate for the school’s abilities, Mr. Ivison insisted that he would push forward for what’s best for the athletes and start discussions on a better alignment. “It’ll be a good year in terms of solidifying our teams, building work and team development,” but sports like soccer as well as other sports in our school, have great potential and would not receive much advantage from shifting down to Tri-cities division, said Mr. Ivison.

KAIAC has always strived its best to make changes in order to provide the best conditions for athletes and frequently has conducted meetings to improve problems. Although the realignment does not seem to be the best fit for GSIS so far, the athletic department believes that positive changes will happen soon as the 2012-13 school year continues.

Tennis and cross country, which are included in the fall sports division are not greatly affected by the new alignment system since they combined divisional activities and sports that compete against all schools. Based on how the tennis and cross country teams are continuing their season, competing with schools that are categorized in Five-Cities division does not prove to be problematic in terms of unbalanced competitiveness, which was one of the reasons for the KAIAC to realign its division.