Familiar winners in cross country finale

Elementary school students head out to the course during the 2018 Northern Marianas Athletics/Public School System All Schools Cross Country Championships held last Saturday at the Saipan County Club in Chalan Kiya. (Lindsay Nash)

The favorites delivered in the 2018 Northern Marianas Athletics/Public School System All Schools Cross Country Championships held last Saturday at the Saipan County Club in Chalan Kiya.

Saipan International School’s Finn Altizer, Kelly McCallion, and Tania Tan, who ruled their respective divisions in the preliminary races, capped their outstanding showing in this year’s cross country season after prevailing in last weekend’s finale.

Tan finished the 3-loop and nearly 6.5-kilomer course in 30:19 to beat eight other runners in the girls U18 division. She was nearly a minute ahead of Marianas High School’s Jerlyn Castillo (31:10), while Tan’s schoolmate Anika Snyder completed the Top 3 in the age group after logging 31:34.

In the boys U7 age group, which had a distance of 2.1K, Altizer timed in at 11:03 to top the 16-student field. Altizer’s fellow SIS student Oliver McCallion came in at second with his 11:52, while Agape Christian School’s Daniel Hwang posted 12:42 to make it to the podium.

Kelly McCallion was the third SIS student to hand the Geckos a first place honors after lording it over in the boys U9 division. He also did the one-loop, 2.1K course and submitted 8:51 to get a gold medal and lead the finishers’ list in his age group that had 14 runners. Saipan Community School’s Daniel Mavs and SIS’ Logan Benson got the silver and bronze, respectively, after timing in at 10:22 and 11:03.

Meanwhile, Allie Brasuel, Barbara Wang, Paul Lizama, Kaithlyn Chavez, Jenny Lin, Caleb Dai, Arthur Liang, and Elizabeth Xu, who figured in the Top 3 in the preliminary races, also stood out in the finale. Tinian High School’s Tyler Santos, on the other hand, won his first and last appearance in the cross country race on Saipan.

Santos checked in at 25:51 for the fastest time in the entire U18 division and a gold medal in the boys U18 division. His victory prevented Agape from sweeping this year’s races, as Jonathan Xiong and Kobe Yang settled for the silver and bronze after clocking in at 26:09 and 27:09, respectively. Seventeen other Agape runners, one each from Marianas High School and SIS, and two more from Tinian joined the boys U18 division race.

In the boys U15 division race, which had a distance of 4.2K, Liang led Agape’s 1-2-3 finish after recording 18:19. Easton Tang (19:03) and Jason Cao (19:33) joined him in the Top 3. In the girls field, Agape also had a sweep with Xu (23:20) beating Vivian Wu (24:49) and Zoe Tang (25:48).

Agape had another Top 3 finish in the boys U13 with Dai timing in at 20:23 and Peter Hu and Abraham Zhu posting 21:24 and 21:49, respectively. In the girls division, Lin’s 25:43 gave her the victory over Dandan Middle School’s Gracie Mendiola (29:44), fellow Agape student Emily Huang (30:04) and seven other runners.

In the U11 age group, Lizama of William S. Reyes Elementary School registered 8:51 to clinch first place in the boys race, while Koblerville Elementary School’s Christian Lucero (8:52) was ranked second, and Mt. Carmel’s Kern Han Cao (10:49) finished third. In the girls division, Chavez won the gold medal for Mt. Carmel as she recorded 9:15 and defeated Brilliant Star School’s Fiona Regan (9:57) and Savita Sikkel (10:12).

In the girls U9 division, runners from three different schools made it to the podium. Wang of Agape took the gold after clocking in at 12:00, while SIS’ Phonex Gross (13:39) and WSR’s Erica Narruhn (13:49) earned the silver and bronze medals, respectively.

Besides the Top 3 finishers in each age group, NMA will also recognized the top performing schools per division. However, results have yet to be finalized.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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