The CNMI’s track stars and swimmers had record stints in off-island tournaments in 2012.
Yvonne Bennett, Rachel Abrams, Reylynn Sapong, and Lia Rangamar formed the first-ever CNMI relay team that ran in the Oceania Regional Championships and went on to place third (53.79 seconds) in the 4x100m relay race at the Barlow Park in Cairns, Australia, in June.
Abrams then crushed her personal best in the 200m run twice, doing it first during the qualifying heat when she timed in at 27.20 seconds. Her previous PBT was 27.46 seconds made at the 2011 Pacific Games in New Caledonia. She advanced to the finals of the U20 200m race where she reset her PBT after clocking in at 26.45 seconds.
Besides the relay race, Rangamar also joined javelin throw and set a new PB and CNMI mark with her 35.31 meters. She surpassed the 35.17m she also posted in the 2011 edition of the championships in Apia, Samoa. Her 2011 mark eclipsed the 29-year-old CNMI national record of Emiliana Quitugua, who listed 34.68m in the first Pacific Mini Games in Honiara, Solomon Islands in 1981.
Michael Mancao and Beo Ngirchongor were in the same tournament in Cairns and set records, too. Mancao marked a new CNMI junior record in the 800m after submitting 2:07:10, while Ngirchongor had a PBT in 400m race (55.05 seconds).
In swimming, Rezne Wong lived up to his lofty billing as the CNMI’s top swimmer in 2012 after representing the Commonwealth well in two off-island tournaments.
The University of Hawaii-Manoa swim team member was the lone CNMI entry to the 9th Oceania Swimming Championships in New Caledonia, raced in six events at the Guy Verlaguet pool in Dumbéa, reset one CNMI national record, and made it to the finals in all of his events.
He timed in at 1:07.29 in the 100m breaststroke to break his own record of 1:07.66 posted in Aug. 16, 2011 during the 2011 Summer Universiade in Shenzhen, China.
About six months after the competition in New Caledonia, Wong donned the colors of the CNMI anew, joining Kensuke Kimura and Victoria Chentsova and coach Minerva Cabrera in Istanbul, Turkey for the 11th FINA World Swimming Championships.
In Turkey, Wong and company crushed their entry times. The 21-year-old CNMI swimmer joined the 50m freestyle, 50m and 100m breaststroke, and 100m and 200m individual medley, Kimura raced in the 50m breaststroke and freestyle events, 100m breaststroke, and the 100m and 200m individual medley, and Chentsova competed in the 100m backstroke and 200m freestyle.
Wong also ruled the preliminary races on his heat in the 50m freestyle, 50m breaststroke, and 100 and 200m IM.