This school year was an incredibly busy one for our Léman Red Pandas. By turns, it was satisfying, heartbreaking, thrilling, exhausting, inspiring and fun! In short, this season brought our student-athletes all the pure ups and downs that only sport can provide. As a community we are very grateful for the hard work of our student-athletes, the support of our parents and families and the dedication of our coaches and administrators to provide a great experience for everyone.
Our first season was highlighted by soccer for our U11 and U15 teams, as well as volleyball for our U19s and Cross-country for all ages. Every practice and every game during the season is part of the journey that takes us towards the end of season tournaments.
The U11 and U15 CISA Soccer tournaments were held on the same day in Northwest Chengdu. It was a day of incredible competition. Our two U11 teams played with passion and teamwork and produced amazing results all day. The way things went, our teams played each other twice, with the second match coming in the tournament semi-finals. Our teams were evenly matched and the game went right down to the wire, with a late goal being the difference for Team 2. With the loud support of our other team, our students stepped up for their next challenge. Unfortunately, too much energy was expended during our amazing semi-final and we couldn’t quite beat CDIS. We are very proud of all of our students and pretty impressed with our lovely 2nd place trophy! Thanks to coaches Mr. Riley, Ms. Brombie, Ms. Felicia, Mr. Tom and Mr. Scofield for their great work in training and on tournament day.
The U15 Tournament was similarly close. Our boys and girls played valiantly through setbacks and injuries and both made the finals! The final matches couldn’t have been closer, with both of them going into extra time. Our girls showed incredible heart and determination and were unfortunate to lose on an unlucky goal in extra time. Ms. Felicia and the girls certainly earned their second place trophy with distinction. The boys’ game was also a nailbiter. The boys played through extra time without reaching a conclusion, so the game went into penalty kicks. The team handled the pressure cooker of penalties brilliantly and got the win to bring home the CISA Championship! Our hearty congratulations go out to Mr. Bishal and his impressive team.
Throughout the volleyball season, we were looking forward to hosting the CISA U19 Volleyball tournament in our gym. With incredible support from our students, parents and staff, the gym was a rocking environment! Our LFA helped keep everyone energetic with a delicious bake sale that was extremely popular. The tremendous atmosphere inspired our athletes to put their best performances out on the court. A day of exciting matches brought us to the Finals against our friendly rivals from CDIS. Although, they did get the best of us, these tense matches were a great way to get prepared for our ACAMIS tournaments.
The weekend after the CISA tournament, we travelled north to Beijing to compete in the ACAMIS Silver Division Volleyball Championships. A thrilling weekend ensued. Our boys team navigated the three-day tournament in style and finished off by beating the host team in a very noisy gym. This was our first ACAMIS Championship and we are thrilled with the work of the team and grateful to our coaches, Mr. Guo and Ms. Shill. Our girls also had a great weekend, but lost a heartbreaker of a quarterfinal to end their championship dreams. They showed a lot of resilience by bouncing back from that and winning their final two games to finish the weekend with four wins and two losses, ending up in 5th place. Mr. McCabe would like to thank the girls for their hard work all season. We are primed to join the boys atop ACAMIS next season.
After a busy season of cross-country running in practices and in PE classes, we entered into our trio of of competitions; Inter-House, CISA and then finally ACAMIS. We hosted an invitational race for ACAMIS, which meant that schools from all over China were invited. We had 5 schools join us to compete in this elite race. Our students did very well, highlighted by a 2nd place finish from Saadullah Muhammad and a 3rd place finish from Nella Jane Skoumalova.
The biggest event in Season 2 was the Nord Anglia Global Games U15 Volleyball tournament. It was the first opportunity for Léman to host a Nord Anglia Global Games China event. We were thrilled for the opportunity to welcome some of our sister schools from Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong to campus. On Thursday afternoon, BSB Shunyi from Beijing and BISS Puxi from Shanghai arrived, settled in at their hotel and came to the campus to see where they would be spending the next few days. We played our initial matches, got some excellent food for the students at our cafeteria and sent them home to rest in advance of two really busy days of volleyball.
NAIS Hong Kong arrived late on Thursday and was able to get some sleep before the tournament started in earnest on Friday. The gymnasium was buzzing as it hosted 24 matches over the course of the day. The competition was played out at an impressively high level. Coaches and parents alike commented on the abilities of the students and the even nature of the competition. More than anything, the excitement of the students was palpable. Players from different cities were hanging out, watching games, chatting and laughing. It was lovely to see our different Nord Anglia schools coming together to create new and lasting memories. It was also a great opportunity for many of our Léman students to come by the gym and see some terrific volleyball. As we came towards the end of the round-robin portion of the tournament, it became clear that Saturday was going to be an exciting day.
Saturday morning required a little mathematics on the boys’ side of the draw, as three of the teams had tied for first place. Once that had been sorted, it was on to a day of matches where anything might take place. We were so proud of our Léman teams and the competitive fire they showed throughout the entire tournament. Our boys’ group was split into two teams to make sure everyone had ample opportunity to play and after a lot of thrilling matches and close calls, our two teams ended up meeting in the Final. Our girls also pushed themselves to reach their highest level and beat some very strong teams on their way to the Final. It was a great reflection on the hard work our teams put in throughout the season as well as the dedication of their coaches. Our Léman community would like to thank Cheena Sotto on the girls’ side and Carina Corey and Victoria Robinson on the boys’ side for their amazing commitment to the development and enjoyment of their athletes.
In U19 Basketball, our boys traveled to Wuxi to participate in the ACAMIS Basketball tournament. We figured it would be an exciting trip, but it turns out we had no idea how tense it would be. The team showed incredible toughness and resilience throughout the tournament, with 5 of their 6 matches being decided by one or two points! The Final was no different. After a tough first half, the team got serious and mounted an amazing comeback, leading to an opportunity to tie or take the lead with only ten seconds left. Unfortunately, the final shot would not fall, but our team can be proud of the amazing effort they put in. The team is already talking about next season and the improvements they can make. Congratulations go out to the whole team, particularly our seniors, Lucas Freund and Anthony Khoo for all their hard work. Gracious thanks to our great coach Tiffany Taylor for her commitment to the team. Although our Girls could not make this tournament, we would also like to thank Ms Felicia Dracz for all her work with her team as well. The girls’ U19 team made huge strides this year and is looking forward to the future.
In Season 3, we hosted the CISA Swim Meet. We welcomed more than 60 swimmers from all over Chengdu as well as their coaches and parents. It was an electric atmosphere. Over the course of nearly 100 races, we saw incredible competition, passion, commitment and athletes pushing themselves to the limit. It was an inspiring day and one that our athletes are not soon to forget. It was another truly amazing CISA event, which ended with a lovely team win by our Léman swimmers. Incredible thanks go out to coaches Ben Lepp, Allerie Brady and Li Kuan.
We also had the privilege to host the ACAMIS Silver Division Soccer tournament in late April. It was a major event with 5 schools from all over China competing for the Cup! Our boys’ and girls’ teams did a super job. Through the round-robin portion of the tournament, our student-athletes braved the heat and exhaustion to perform well and set themselves up well for the playoff portion of the tournament on Saturday.
We woke up to another hot day on Saturday, though the threat of rain loomed large throughout the day. No matter to our dedicated student-athletes who were focused on their teams and their performance. Both of our teams played incredibly well. Our girls lost a heart-breaker of a semi-final, but were able to regroup and beat a very tough team from Beijing in a penalty shootout to win 3rd place. The boys also had a tense penalty shootout in their semi-final matchup, but some excellent goalkeeping and nerves of steel from the spot helped them to push through. In the Final, the boys played the favourites from Tianjin. Really amazing work on team defense and some timely offense helped our boys to win our first ACAMIS Soccer Championship! The extreme wind forced our BBQ dinner inside, but nothing could dampen the mood of the players. The camaraderie was evident throughout the gala dinner and the presentations afterward. We received a lot of praise for not only the performance of our students, but also their behavior and friendliness as hosts throughout the weekend. We couldn’t be prouder of our teams. Thanks to coaches Paul McCarthy and Felicia Dracz for their incredible work all season.
Most recently, the U14 Basketball teams traveled north for the Global Games China competition at our sister school BSB in Shunyi, Beijing. Our boys and girls distinguished themselves again by being great ambassadors for our school and performing at a high level as well. Through an exhausting two days of matches (the boys played 5 games on Friday!), our teams acquitted themselves well and showed their resiliency. Though they could have ended up higher, our boys did well to secure themselves 5th place in a highly competitive 8 team tournament. Our girls were agonizingly close to securing the championship they were after, losing the Final by one point on a last-second shot from their opponent. Though it was a tough pill to swallow, the girls knew they had done an amazing job. We are extremely proud of the development of the team and are really excited to see them come back next year and continue their work with their great coach, Ms. Tiffany Taylor.
We are so happy to be able to provide all of these athletic opportunities and more for our students at Léman. The multitude of events would not be possible without the support of our entire community. We want to thank all of our support staff, including facilities, transportation, ayis, chefs, teachers, parents and students for their tremendous support. Our teams were buoyed by the amazing atmosphere you all helped to create. Our coaches and especially our PE staff works diligently throughout the year to give all of our students the necessary skills to participate in these competitive events, and supplements that with countless extra hours of coaching on evenings and weekends.
While we strive for and celebrate the heights that our student-athletes have reached this year, we hang our hat on the way that these student-athletes represent Léman. Throughout the year, they have competed with integrity, intensity and pride. We are very proud to have a role in allowing our student-athletes to achieve in ambitious ways. Sport teaches us a lot about life and we are excited about the personal growth our student-athletes have undergone this year.
Thank you and Go Red Pandas!