Not even an early morning shower could prevent over 180 students from joining the 2018 Northern Marianas Athletics All Schools Cross Country Series 1 held last Saturday at the CPA Airport Field.
Runners in the U7 to U11 age groups were too excited to race in the rain-soaked course that some of them headed out the moment they heard whistles from one of the organizers. NMA volunteers had to chase the “lead pack” to let them know that the race had yet to begin and the whistles were just to call the attention of runners and have them proceed to the starting line.
Then once the race officially started, 70 runners from Saipan International School, Agape Christian School. Mt. Carmel School, William S. Reyes Elementary School, Saipan Community School, San Vicente Elementary School, Dandan Middle School, Kagman Elementary School, and Koblerville Elementary School, hurriedly headed out to the course to complete the nearly one-mile race.
Mt. Carmel’s Kaithlyn Chavez was the first to reach the finish line, as she timed in at 6:34.85 en route to topping the U11 division. One more MCS student made it to the Top 5 overall in the same age group with Ken Han clocking in at 7:54.74. WSR’s Paul Sama came in second overall and first in the boys division with his 6:41.06 and was followed by SIS’ Dana Lee (7:39.21) and San Vicente’s Ken Helgen (7:53.48). Sama’s schoolmates Mark Costales (7:55.09), Jerry Faimaw (8:08.21), and Jermaine Taitano (9:06.53) made it to the Top 10 along with SCS’ Lola Guerrero (9:06.90), and Agape’s Tom Jiang (9:35.45).
In the U7 division, SIS had a 1-2 finish with Finn Altizer and Oliver McCallion checking in at 8:46.44 and 9:35.45, respectively. Agape’s K. Escalan was ranked third overall after posting 9:53.68 and was followed by SCS’ Ali Brasuell (10:22.48), SIS’ Beatrice Gross (10:25.23), Agape’s Hao Zheng Huang (10:51.91), San Vicente’s Jude Rayphand (10:52.29), Koblerville’s Edric Morales (10:55.52), Agape’s Benjamin Cai (10:55.99), and San Vicente’s Laila Igisomar (10:56.22).
In the U9 division, SIS had another first place finish with Kelly McCallion leading 28 other runners after recording 6:41.40. SCS’ Eugene So (7:28.40) and Daniel Malus (7:57.74) joined McCallion in the Top 3, while rounding out the Top 10 were San Vicente’s Christopher Cruz (8:08.61), SIS’ Logan Benson (8:48.26), Agape’s Barbara Wang (9:01.71), SCS’ Joshua Yoo (10:00.57), Mt. Carmel’s David Xiao (10:22.81), Agape’s Angelina Quan (10:25.23), and SIS’ Phoenix Gross (10:36.17).
Meanwhile, results of the U13, U15, and U18 divisions were unavailable at press time. Runners in the U13 and U15 division did two laps of the same course, while U18 students had three.
The second leg of the series of cross country races will be held this Saturday, also at the CPA Airport Field, starting at 7am. For the third leg, it will be held at the Saipan Country Club in Chalan Kiya on Sept. 22, while the 2018 Northern Marianas Athletics All Schools Cross Country Championship will take place on Oct. 13 with the venue to be announced later. Students must compete in at least one leg of the series to qualify in next month’s final race.