Yvonne Bennett, Lia Rangamar, Rachel Abrams, and Reylynn Sapong made history for the CNMI after competing in the 4x100m relay event in the Oceania Regional Championships 2012 yesterday at the Barlow Park in Cairns, Australia.
The quartet was the first Commonwealth team to race in a relay run in the Oceania championship and completed the event in 53.79 seconds to save third place in the group. Fiji topped the group with its 49.72 seconds, followed by Papua New Guinea (50.65 seconds). Japan, a guest team, was in the same race and posted the fastest time at 44.39, while Australia's A team also ran in the relay and timed in at 49.55 seconds.
Before the relay event, Sapong debuted in the Oceania championship via the 400m run and submitted 70.58 seconds. She was on Heat 1 and raced against seven others, including eventual silver medalist Courtney Geraghty (57.33 seconds) of Australia. New Zealand's Ellie McCleery topped the race with a time of 56.44 seconds.
Sapong's teammates-Beo Ngirchongor and Michael Mancao- also raced in the 400m qualifying heats that took placed last Wednesday. Ngirchongor was on Heat 3 and timed in at 55.05 seconds to finish sixth in his group. Mancao also placed sixth on Heat 2, completing the event in 57.43 seconds. PNG's John Rivan won the gold in the 400m race after logging 49.26 seconds.
Meanwhile, the three-day tournament will conclude today with the seven-man CNMI Team competing in seven more events.
Abrams, Bennett, Rangamar, and Sapong will participate in the 4x400m relay at 4:10pm (same time on Saipan) against PNG A's Donna Konniel, Poro Gahekave, Tehilah Womola, and Tuna Tine; New Zealand's Larrisa Dyke, Ellie McCleery, Zoe Ballantyne, and Nneka Okpala; and Fiji's Suliana Batirau Gusuivalu, Mereseine Naidau, Elenoa Sailosi, and Miriama Senokonoko.
Bennett will also run in the women's open 100m race against nine others, including the favored Okpala (11.98 seconds). Bennett is hoping to reset her personal record and CNMI mark (12.52 seconds) in today's 100m sprint.
Orrin Pharmin will compete in the men's open 100m run, too, at 1:30pm, while Ngirchongor will have his second and last race via the U20 200m qualifying heat at 12:15pm.
Abrams is entered in the U20 200m qualifying heats, which will start at 12:05 and will feature 16 other runners, while Sapong and Mancao are both racing in the 800m preliminary runs.