With track & field kicking off the first of the Guam Department of Education’s (“GDOE”) Interscholastic Sports Association’s (“ISA”) Block 2 Season, GDOE’s student-athletes now await the start of baseball, paddling, boys’ and girls’ basketball, and boys’ and girls’ soccer.
“It’s a very busy schedule, but our Athletic Directors and coaches are committed to providing the best opportunities for our students to close out the year,” said Jon Fernandez, GDOE Superintendent. “We all know the challenges we’ve had to overcome, but we developed a plan early, and once we got confirmation to start, we made sure to offer all the sports that were approved by the Governor’s Office and DPHSS.”
In January, Fernandez also extended an invitation for private high schools and Guam High School to participate in the ISA league competition. Guam High School joined the ISA track & field and baseball leagues; Father Duenas confirmed participation in the ISA baseball, paddling, and track & field; and Notre Dame is suiting up a boys’ baseball team. The Guam Adventist Academy Eagles are regular ISA members and have entered a team to compete in track & field.
“We are happy to have them in our leagues competing, especially when it fits well into our schedule,” said acting ISA League Director, Marvin Linder. “Having them participate increases the level of competition, and we get a chance to expand opportunities for students to get active again, after this past year of being shut down.”
Last Thursday, Island-wide Interscholastic Athletic Association of Guam (IIAAG) President Terry Debold emailed Fernandez to request further consideration for private schools to join boys and girls basketball. Initially, Fernandez responded that ISA would not be able to accommodate additional teams at such a late stage, given that basketball games were already scheduled to run through the end of the school year. However, after receiving requests from interested IIAAG schools to reconsider, Fernandez is exploring the possibility of allowing two private schools to participate in each of the upcoming basketball seasons.
“I was under the impression that IIAAG would be offering basketball to its members,” said Fernandez. “When we extended our invitation back in January, we were only approached to join track and field, baseball, softball, and paddling. Therefore, we went ahead and set our schedules accordingly. It was really a surprise to us to hear IIAAG was foregoing basketball, given how prominent the sports usually are during normal years.”
Fernandez indicated that he received interest today directly from the principals of Father Duenas Memorial School and Academy of Our Lady of Guam to have their basketball teams compete in the ISA league. Additionally, former ISA league director Al Garrido informed Fernandez that St. Paul Warriors had expressed interest in fielding a boys’ team and Notre Dame Royals had also indicated that they were ready to field a girls team.
“At this point, I am certain we can adjust our schedule to allow the teams who have already expressed interest an opportunity to join us,” said Fernandez. “By Monday, I plan to extend an invitation directly to these schools to join us in the ISA league. Should they accept the invitation, they will be scheduled to compete. If they decline for any reason, we will extend the invitation to any other schools that have expressed interest. At this late stage, we can only accommodate two additional teams in each of our basketball seasons, but we will do our best to see if we can help out and give the students at these schools the opportunity to play this year.”
Fernandez indicated that the schedules would be locked in by April 28.