Twelve students from Saipan International School, Agape Christian School, and Marianas High Schools were named to Team Marianas that will compete in the 2018 Asia Pacific Invitational Cross Country Championship in Guam next weekend.
AsPac veteran Tania Tan of SIS will lead the women’s crew that will race in the individual 5K event on Oct. 20 and in the two-person relay on Oct. 21. Joining Tan on the women’s team are fellow SIS students Anika Snyder and Stella McCallion and another tournament returnee Malika Miyawaki and MHS’ Jerlyn Castillo and Therize Millare. Rochelle Valino is the alternate.
The four SIS runners raced in the first three legs of the 2018 Northern Marianas Athletics All Schools Cross Country Series with Tan topping the second and third after missing the kick-off and the rest of her SIS teammates placing in the Top 5. Millare made it to the third and final series last Saturday and was ranked at No. 3, while Castillo had the same finish in the second leg.
Tan also had the best time among CNMI runners in last year’s AsPac race after completing the 5K event in 23:18.4, while Miyawaki clocked in at 25:29.6. Agape’s Ying Zhang (24:48), Min Yu (28:58), and Tianbo Zhang (29:36) were the other members of Team Marianas in 2017.
In the men’s division, three Agape runners, two from SIS, and one from SIS made up the CNMI squad. Agape’s Kaiping Wang and Lue Xiong will compete in the tournament anew after debuting last year and will be joined by their schoolmate Chenxuan Yang. Wang and Xiong were the best finishers on Team Marianas last year after submitting identical times of 22:05.2.
SIS’ Je Hyuk Jung is also returning in the competition this year, while Kuu Nishimura, also from SIS, and MHS’ Ken Song will race in the AsPac for the first time. Tinian’s Tyler Santos is the alternate.
Jung timed in at 23:20.2 in last year’s individual run, finishing ahead of Agape’s Dawei Cai (26:09) and behind SIS’ Clayton Izuka (22:15) and Alex Park (22:38).
NMA is the lead group in charge of sending Team Marianas to Guam and the association will shoulder the entry fees ($65 per athlete) and half of the airfare and accommodation costs.
Next weekend’s cross country event will feature more than 20 high school teams from Guam, Japan, Hong Kong, and the Philippines. The 5K individual race will take place at the John F. Kennedy High School grounds, while the relay will be held at Ypao Beach. The times of the Top 5 runners from each school will be considered to determine the team rankings.