8 Saipan runners make grade

Florence Antonio raises his arms in triumph after ruling the 50 to 59 age group of the half marathon event in last Saturday’s 2014 Saipan Marathon. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Florence Antonio raises his arms in triumph after ruling the 50 to 59 age group of the half marathon event in last Saturday’s 2014 Saipan Marathon. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Eight Saipan entries in the half marathon event of the 2014 Saipan Marathon had notable finishes in last Saturday’s competition.

In the men’s overall ranking, the host’s Jessie James and Peter Prestley made it to the Top 6. James placed fourth after completing the race from Micro Beach to the southern parking lot of Pacific Islands Club and back (21.0975 kilometers) in 1:38:03, while Prestley was ranked fifth after logging 1:41:34. The two Saipan runners finished behind China’s Haikun Zhang (1:23:19) and Wei Zhang (1:24:03) and Japan’s Junichi Yamamoto (1:26:10) and ahead of Japan’s Kazuhiko Fujii (1:44:09).

In the women’s division, Lorie Hutchison took third place behind China’s Zhixuan Li (1:27:03) and Japan’s Erina Okumura (1:39:33) after registering 1:43:06, while fellow Saipan runner Akiko Miller also barged into the Top 6 with a fourth-best time of 1:44:34. Rounding out the Top 6 were Japanese Yoshida Mayumi (1:51:05) and Norie Kosaka (1:51:27).

In the age group category, Saipan’s Sakiko Eda ruled the 40 to 49 division after cutting the tape at the 1:56:53 mark. She had the fastest time among the age group top finishers in the women’s division. Other top finishers were 20 to 29’s Chigusa Kato (2:08:20), 30 to 39’s Yukiko Inaba (2:15:57), 50 to 59’s Masumi Miyamoto (2:07:51), and over 60’s Etsuko Hirayama (2:09:02).

In the men’s age group division, Saipan got three top finishes with Ronald Villafria logging the best time at 1:46:39 to win the 40 to 49 category. He came ahead of 15 to 19 champion Jake Lee (1:54:16) and 50-59 winner Florence Antonio (1:54:32). Completing the winners list in the age group division were U14’s Kanaru Shimizu (2:31:29), 20 to 29’s Rufino Aquino Jr. (2:00:21), 30 to 39’s Wataru Takaku (1:49:43), and over 60’s Shoji Tsushima (1:47:39).

Japanese, Chinese split wins

In the marathon event (42.195K), Japanese and Chinese runners shared top honors.

Shoutaro Miwa won it for Japan when he topped the men’s division with his time of 2:36:21. He finished ahead of China’s Shuai Xu (3:01:55), fellow Japanese Yoshiharu Sugimoto (3:03:58), Yukihiro Okada (3:32:27) and Naoki Yamamoto (3:35:29), and Saipan’s Steven Johnson (3:49:38).

In the women’s division, China’s Zhiling Zheng and Kaiquin Zhang had a Top 2 finish after recording 3:04:55 and 3:17:08. Completing the Top 6 were Japan’s Mayumi Uichiyama (3:53:20), Kaoru Mito (3:55:14), Yuri Kimuro (4:05:53), and Chiemi Saito (4:29:51).

In the women’s age group category, the first place finishers were all Japanese. Shoko Kageyawa ruled the 20 to 29 division after posting 4:52:35; Tomoko Sugimoto (4:44:48) prevailed in the 30 to 39; Wakako Hoshina (4:30:15) won in the 40 to 49; Kiyo Tajima (5:032:23) reigned supreme in the 50 to 59; and Reiko Hirosawa (5:40:51) triumphed in the over 60.

In the men’s division, the age group champions were 15 to 19’s Terence Leung (5:15:23), 20 to 29’s Sangji Kim (4:19:31), 30 to 39’s Tomoyasu Tominaga (3:51:45), 40 to 49’s Kozo Yamada (3:58:39), 50 to 59’s Hisahi Matsuura (4:11:17), and Saipan and over 60’s Chang Whan Jang (3:57:15).

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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