It’s that time of year again when Tanzanian secondary students get to show off their athletic abilities. UMISSETA, the national inter-secondary school tournament, kicked off in May and the Mungere Red Rhinos showed everyone just how hard they can compete! 

In each round, students are selected to form cross-school teams that qualify to play together at the next level. The first qualifying round was hosted by Manyara Secondary School, where Mungere competed against six other local schools. Over two days, the Red Rhinos put their best athletes forward, bringing 70 participants to compete in volleyball, basketball, netball, soccer, and a variety of track and field events. There was even a drama competition for those who were not playing sports!

The campus was noticeably filled with Mungere spirit, as there were nearly 100 students and staff in attendance. Bright red sweaters could be seen across Manyara’s campus and Mungere fans cheered their classmates on loudly throughout the weekend. Director Ashley Holmer was one of the staff members impressed with the students’ showing. “The staff and students were really proud of our Red Rhinos and their performance,” said Holmer. “The teamwork displayed across all the different competitions was really fun to watch and support!” 

During closing ceremonies at the end of day two, organizers announced that 24 of Mungere’s 70 competitors would be moving on to the district competition. Students chosen to move forward were: Yunis, Kelvin, Tasiana, Mwajabu, Mgeni, and Winfrida for football; Mgeni, Felista, and Tunu for netball; Stephano and Hamisi for basketball; Ema Arusha and Zakaria for javelin and discus; and Mgeni, Zena, Ema Hendry, Ginde, Sarah, Dominiki, Yohana, Glory, Tatu, Martin, Faustine, Gideon, and Catherine for running. Showing their strength in both speed and distance running, the Red Rhinos took home first place in all but one track event!

The following week, Mungere participants joined other local winners in Monduli, the district’s central town, for another fierce round of play. It was evident that these athletes were the best of the best as the games became even more competitive. The Red Rhinos continued to shine and after two days of events, seven students were selected for round three. Ema Hendry took first in the long jump and Ema Arusha easily won the javelin with a throw of 61.9 feet; second place was 46.8 feet! Martin surprised everyone by competing last minute in the bao (also known as mancala) tournament, winning every match he played! 

Mungere Head of Sports John Losieku was placed in charge of the track & field events for district play. Recommended on a job well done, he was appointed the District Athletic Coach for regionals in Arusha. “I’m very proud of our team. They all performed well and made me trusted by the district to take the team to Arusha,” said Losieku. “If two of our students make it to the finals, I will continue on with them. We will practice and I believe they will go to the finals.”

In late May, Glory, Zena, Ema Hendry, Mwajabu, Martin, Faustine and Hamisi will travel to Arusha for regionals. As in previous rounds, Mungere students will create teams with other winners to represent the district and vie for a spot at the week-long national games, held in Mwanza in June.”I feel very good but nervous to represent my district. I took second place in Monduli but I think I can be first in Arusha,” said Glory. “The best thing about UMISSETA is how we join with other schools to interact with them as a team.” 

As they finish up the school term, participants will continue to practice for what is sure to be a true test of their athletic abilities. Mungere looks forward to seeing just how far the Red Rhinos can go!