Another Team Marianas runner earned All-Island Team honors, as Ken Song made it to the Top 15 overall finishers list in the 5K race of the 2019 Asia Pacific Invitational Cross-Country Championships last Monday in Japan.
Song completed the race at the Urayasu-shi Sogo Koen in Tokyo in 18:23.2 for the No. 12 spot overall in the boys division, which featured nearly 100 runners from Japan, Guam, and the CNMI. The Commonwealth squad or Team Marianas was represented in the competition by Saipan International School and Agape Christian School runners and Song of SIS was the second CNMI bet to make it to the All-Island Team after Tania Tan joined the elite selection in last year’s event in Guam.
Kuu Nishimura, also from SIS, was the second fastest finisher among Team Marianas runners after checking in at 19:44, and was followed by Agape’s Kobe Yang (20:16), SIS’ Sam Culp (20:20), and Zhijie Cao (20:54). Other Team Marianas finishers in the boys division were Agape’s Xinshi Liang (21:01), Shan Haozhe (21:28), Teng Zhang (21:56), and Yutian Lou (22:02), and SIS’ John Paul Sablan (22.21), Robbie Schorr (23:04), Charles McDonald (23:08), and Paul Xiong (25:17).
American School in Japan’s Take Zoot topped the race after clocking in at 16:51.
In the women’s 5K, SIS’ Anika Snyder posted the best time among Team Marianas runners, as she made it to the finish line at the 23:05 mark. SIS had a 1-2-3 finish for Team Marianas as Tiana Cabrera and Malika Miyawaki timed in at 23:34 and 25:12, respectively.
Agape’s Emma Pang posted the third best time for Team Marianas at 24:38, but she was listed as an unofficial runner, as the eighth grader was under the minimum age (should be 14 and up and in at least ninth grade). Agape’s Eunice Xu (25:36), Alice Yang (25:58), Jiamei Xu (26:11), Nancy Han (26:28), Shi Yihong (26:54), and Vivian Wu (27:07), and SIS’ Jinju Thompson (28:40) rounded out the Team Marianas finishers. Marina Ten Have of ASIJ was the overall winner in the women’s field that drew about 90 runners, as she completed the race in 20:19.
Team Marianas, which is coached by SIS’ Ron Snyder and Agape’s Pastor Kok Pang, made it to the competition through the help of Northern Marianas Athletics, finished third overall after the results in the girls and boys relays held yesterday were counted.
Team Marianas joined St. Mary’s/Seisen, and Christian Academy in Japan in the Top 3 after surviving the tough race conditions during the relay.
“The cold rain killed us. Several teams cancelled today with the bad weather, but us, we all ran. Even the unofficial runners braved the rain and slogged through the mud. Ken, Kobe, Malika, and Anika as graduating seniors and repeat API athletes ran the batons in and were totally amazing. They blasted through the course. On the first lap, Anika overtook five teams,” said Snyder, who mentioned the notable performances of Agape and SIS runners in both the individual and relay races.
“Emma Pang from ACS had to run unofficially since she is in Grade 8, but is a great up and coming runner and will be one of the top CNMI U18 runners next year with Tiana Cabrera from SIS. Kuu Nishimura was a tough competitor this year. He improved over two and a half minutes from last year, he’ll be All-Island next year,” Snyder added.