The youthful pair of Kento Akimaru and Erico Castro teamed up with Goshi Sato to top the relay race in last Saturday's 2013 XTERRA Saipan Championship.
The trio timed in at 3:41:44, besting four other teams and earning the distinction of being the only squad to finish the 1.5-kilometer swim, 32K bike, and 12K run under three hours. Twelve-year-old Akimaru started things out for the eventual champions, completing the swim leg in the waters off Micro Beach in 22:58 (seventh overall) and beating seven pros, including former XTERRA Saipan champions Sam Gardner of the United Kingdom and Renata Bucher.
For the bike leg, 14-year-old Castro clocked in at 2:02:17 to finish 21st overall and beat more than 30 riders. He was the youngest biker in the championship course. In the run race, 39-year-old Sato submitted 1:15:24 to secure the team's more than 40-minute win over the trio of Lennosuke Suzuki, Bob Ferrer, and Janet King (4:25:53).
Ten-year-old Susuke debuted in XTERRA and posted 33:43 (26th overall), while Ferrer moved up from the sport to the championship course and negotiated the bike leg in 2:11:31 (26th overall). King went on to anchor the team to the finish line, timing in at 1:39:29.
Victoria Chentsova, who ruled last year's relay with Russ Quinn and Yosh Gabaldon, settled for third place with new teammates Max Simian and Mamiko Oshima-Berger after submitting 4:35:44. Chentsova recorded 23:07 in the two-lap swim leg and was the second female out of the water behind eventual winner Jacqui Slack of the United Kingdom and eighth overall. Simian was next and completed the rain-soaked bike leg under three hours with his 2:59:35, while Oshima-Berger was the fastest runner in the relay and seventh in the female division with her 1:11:44.
Other finishers in the championship course's relay were Allan Colinson (28:15), Ric Antonio (2:34:36), and Julia Lendvai (1:36:43), who tallied 4:40:44; the Tan family: Angel Marie (23:08), Samson (2:52:11), and Glorybel Tan (1:33:47), who combined for 4:50:11; and Joshua Berger (37:56), Mark Isip (2:50:43), and Tiffany Lin (1:36:27), who checked in at 5:06:38.
Sport course winners
In the 750-meter swim, 20K bike, and 5K run, the trio of Ricky Castro and Jerome and Lawrence Diyco prevailed over the duo of Benjamin and Ben Babauta.
The winning team completed the race in 2:16:10, more than 30 minues ahead of the Babautas.
In the individual race division, three Saipan bets completed the sports course. Paul Plunkett was the fastest with his 2:51:28, followed by Christen Steinkuller (3:11:30), and Derek Chambers (3:29:42).
Meanwhile, the Taga Kids Triathlon will take place this Saturday at the American Memorial Park.
The race will kick off at 1pm at Micro Beach. Entry fee is $25 and registration forms are available at the Pacific Development, Inc. office at Hafadai Beach Hotel.