Joe Ayuyu Jr. is just continuing the commitment made by their parents to the Annual McDonald’s/Public School System All Schools Athletics Championships.
The partnership between McDonald’s and the Northern Marianas Athletics began in 2005, when the local federation was still known as the Northern Mariana Islands Track and Field Association. Ayuyu, McDonald’s Middle Road branch manager, told Saipan Tribune that aside from giving back to the community, they are also supporting the NMA’s grassroots program that discovers CNMI’s track stars.
“Our parents (Joe Sr. and Marcia) chose to do this. Our family has been a big supporter of sports and other events that help the kids remain active and have exercise,” said Ayuyu during yesterday’s donation turnover ceremony.
McDonald’s handed over the $3,000 check to NMA officials for the McDonald’s/Public School System All Schools Athletics Championships that will be held from May 9 to 12 at the Oleai Sports Complex. NMA officials are still finalizing the list of students that qualified in the meet after the almost month-long trials.
“This is our way of giving back to the community that has also supported us through the years. Most of the kids that join are also our customers. So we want to continue supporting the community that has supported us, too,” Ayuyu said.
He added that the All Schools has helped the local athletics federation with their recruitment program, as a number of local track stars started their career in the annual event.
“The athletics championships give the kids the opportunity to test their skills against the CNMI’s best young athletes. It is where the CNMI’s future track stars are discovered. It has become a training ground for young athletes, to take their skills to the next level.”
Jacque Wonenberg, Dexter Dillay, Darrel Roligat, Tyrone Omar, the Bennett sisters—Yvonne and Yvette—Jeremy Winkfield, Reylynn Sapong and younger sister Zarinae, Lia Rangamar, Jenequa Sullivan Benavente, Rachel Abrams, and Beouch Ngirchongor are some of the athletes that the All Schools produced. Even Jericho Cruz, now a basketball star in the Philippine Basketball Association, competed in the long jump in the All Schools.
They have won medals in regional events like the Micronesian Games and Micronesian Area Championships, now known as the Oceania Micronesia Regional Championships, and competed in the Pacific Games and world championships organized by the International Association of Athletics Federations.
Yvonne Bennett holds the 400m run record in the Micronesia regionals with a time of 1:02.91, she set in August 2009 in Gold Coast, Australia, while Wonenberg duplicated the feat with a 4.66m distance in long jump in the same tournament. Yvonne also holds the CNMI national records in the 100m dash (12.37 seconds), 200m run (24.82 seconds), and 400m run (56.24 seconds), while Wonenberg in the 100m hurdles (16.4 seconds), long jump (4.97m) and triple jump (10.10m). Both athletes also set records in the 2010 Micronesian Games in Koror, Palau with Bennett accomplishing the feat in the 100m dash (12.68 seconds), 200m run (26.41 seconds), and 400m run (1:01.30). Wonenberg owns the Micro Games’ mark in the 400m hurdles (1:03.68) and women’s pentathlon—60m hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump, and 800m run—with 2,380 points.
Omar holds the CNMI records in 100m sprint (10.99 seconds) and 200m run (22.4 seconds); Ngirchongor in the 400m run (52.74); Dillay in 110m hurdles (16.8 seconds) and long jump (6.42m); Abrams in high jump (1.38m); Benavente in hammer throw (27.57m); and Rangamar in javelin throw (35.31m).