Team Marianas left for Guam yesterday morning to compete in the 2018 Asia Pacific Invitational Cross Country Championships.
The squad is made up Saipan International School’s Tania Tan, Anika Snyder, Stella McCallion, Malika Miyawaki, and Kuu Nishimura, Agape Christian School’s Kaiping Wang, Lue Xiong, and Chenxuan Yang, Marianas High School’s Jerlyn Castillo, Therize Millare, and Ken Song, and Tinian High School’s Tyler Santos.
The 12 runners are among the 270 high schools students that will race in the individual event today and in the team competition tomorrow. They will be up against students from Guam, Japan, Hong Kong, and the Philippines.
Robin Sapong, general secretary of Northern Marianas Athletics, which was responsible for sending the 12 runners to the regional race, said running against more than 200 competitors will be a good experience for Team Marianas.
“It’s a great exposure for our youth athletes and our goal is to finish strong as a team and enjoy the experience,” said Sapong, who accompanied the squad in Guam.
Tan, who was the top finisher among the CNMI female runners that joined last year’s event, said she eyes to surpass her time in the individual 5K race (23:18.4) in 2017. She and the 11 other members of the team checked the course yesterday afternoon and though the race will still be held at the John F. Kennedy High School grounds in Tumon, there are some changes in the route.
“We checked out the course earlier today (yesterday) and it’s slightly different, but it’ll be fun. It feels good to be back, since I know how the race would be like and have more experience. This year, there are more SIS runners so I’m happy,” said Tan, who dominated the 2018 Northern Marianas Athletics/Public School System All Schools Cross Country Series and topped the final race held last Saturday.
The rest of the members of the team also did well in the series of cross country races this season.
Tan and the five other female runners on Team Marianas will start the 5K course at 7:05am, while the boys race will kick off at 6am. For the relay, the race will take place at the Ypao Beach Park tomorrow at 6am.