Marianas High School’s Dev Bachani and Saipan International School’s Kaithlyn Chavez dished out golden performances in the 2021 PSS/NMA Cross Country Championships last Saturday at the old Saipan Country Club golf course behind Saipan Vegas.
Bachani anchored a powerful MHS team in the 5-kilometer run in the boys high school division, crossing the finish line in 20:35. He was followed by teammate Cody Shimizu in 20:47, while SIS’ Rex Pixley, last week’s winner of the qualifier, settled for third in 20:51.
Grace Christian Academy’s Theodre Rodgers, who topped the second qualifier, came in fourth in 21:16; while MHS’ Anthony Bergancia and Marques Dame were fifth and sixth with times of 21:55.33 and 21:55.83, respectively.
Bachani, who won the first qualifier before getting lost in the second qualifier due to a mistaken turnaround, completely dominated Saturday’s cross country run for all the marbles.
“It was long and the hills were hard to get going. It’s so muddy and so hard to turn but other than that it was good. I was leading the whole time except for maybe 2 seconds,” he said.
MHS coach Gabi Race said Bachani showed in the cross country championship how much of an all-around athlete the 15-year-old is.
“They all did so great; I think all six of the MHS boys finished in the Top 10. Dev is an amazing all-around athlete and it was a lot of fun to cheer them all on at the finish line,” she said.
Making up the rest of the gold-winning MHS team in the cross country championships are Pony Tang (23:16.22) and Rakin Hassan (23:46).
Like Bachani, Chavez also topped the first qualifier before making the wrong turn in the second qualifier. She redeemed herself by topping last week’s qualifier then capped her season with the gold medal in the girls high school cross championships with a time of 22:16. She was followed by teammates Tiana Cabrera and Serin Chung in times of 24:21.32 and 27.08, respectively.
Chavez said last Saturday’s cross country championships was a totally different run than a week prior despite being held in the same exact venue.
“It wasn’t my best run honestly but at least, yeah, I got the win. It was actually a bit different from last week so it was harder. I knew it was gonna be different and muddier because it rained,” she said.
The rest of the gold medal-winning SIS girls high school team are fourth place Sevita Sikkel (27.1), fifth place Stephanie Kim (30:42), and sixth place Audrey Castro (32:37). For landing all six of its runners in the Top 6, the SIS girls high school team got a perfect score of 10.
The Public School System partnered with Northern Marianas Athletics, the governing body of athletics in the CNMI, to organize track and field as well as cross country events in the 2021-22 school year.