Northern Marianas Athletics has selected eight athletes to represent the CNMI in next month’s 2019 Oceania Athletics Championships in Queensland, Australia.
Three-time Northern Marianas Sports Association Female Athlete of the Year Zarinae Sapong will lead Team CNMI in the tournament that will run from June 24 to 28 at the Townsville Sports Reserve. The sprinter will compete in the seniors’ 100m and 200m runs and will be joined on the team by Leani Acosta, Jamie Pangelinan, Traven Quitugua, Gabriel Sappa, Oldie Joe Roligat, Theyvie They, Tinian’s Tyler Santos.
Sappa will race in the seniors 100m and 200m runs, while the rest of the team are entered in the U18 and U20 competitions. Acosta and They are joining the U18’s long jump event and the former is also participating in the high jump, while Quitugua is the Commonwealth’s bet in the U20’s 100m and 200m runs.
Roligat is running in a sprint event—100m—in the U18 age group and the long jump, while Santos will do the middle distance races—800m and 1,500m run. Pangelinan will be in the qualifying heats for the U18’s 100m and 200m races.
The team’s U18 members were selected based on their performance in the 2019 Public School System/McDonald’s All Schools Track and Field Championships held early this month and in the training sessions under coach Elias Rangamar.
Pangelinan and Quitugua dominated the 100m and 200m in the All Schools meet, while Santos swept the 400m, 800m, 1,500m, and 3,000m races. Roligat, They, and Acosta also won several medals in the event held at the Oleai Sports Complex.
Meanwhile, Rangamar and NMA have set modest goals for the team, as they hope the CNMI bets will make it past the first round (for runners) and get personal bests (for running and jumping events).
The Commonwealth is one of the 22 countries competing in the Oceania Athletics Association-organized tournament, which is expected to draw a record number of participants, as the event will also serve as a qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.