Michael Mancao, Kosuke Sato, Andrei Kaithlyn Chavez, and Tiana Cabrera won their respective divisions in the 1,600m race of Northern Marianas Athletics’ Track and Field Open Meet held last Saturday at the Oleai track and field.
Mancao came in first in the open division after completing the four laps around the track in 5:41.8. Edward Dela Cruz came in second with a time of 5:48.3 with Orrin Pharmin completing the Top 3 in 6:23.2. Travannie Atalig (7:14.9), Darrel De Luna (7:22.6), and Simon Necesito (8:34.9) also took part in the open division.
In the masters, Sato crossed the finished line in 5:40.73 to win not only the men’s 50-and-over age group but logged the best time overall, while Ron Snyder topped the 55-and-over division with a time of 7:26.1.
Chavez, for her part, was No. 1 in the 18-and-under age group, cutting the tape in 6:23, while Cabrera was first in the open division with a time of 6:32.2. Denise Myers finished second in the open division with a time of 6:39.
NMA secretary general Robin Sapong said he’s just happy that the federation was able to organize a track and field event again after two years of inactivity due to Super Typhoon Yutu and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“After two years of no open track and field meet, it just feels great to be back. We are planning for two more events this summer as a tune up meet for our athletes and officials. Our main goal is using our sport, athletics, to create a healthier and fitter community,” he said.
Sapong, who is also president of the Oceania Athletics Association, also thanked Northern Marianas Sports Association, volunteers, and Public School System Athletic director Nick Gross for letting them borrow his office’s public address system.
NMA president Ramon Tebuteb seconded Sapong’s excitement in the return of the open track and field meet at the Oleai Sports Complex, adding that he’s also overjoyed that a number of masters runners showed up and competed.
He said former NMA president Kurt Barnes was actually the lead person in NMA’s masters programs and it’s all but fitting that the federation decided to bring back the program at a time when the former longtime Saipan resident was on island for vacation.
“NMA via OAA always had access to this masters programs. This masters program is officially an OAA event. Fortunately Mr. Nick Gross has graced NMA now to lead this. This is not the first time we have held this event. NMA has a wide range of on-and-off the track and field activities. These includes environmental stewardship, road races, women roles, etc.,” he said.
Results of the other events of the Track and Field Open Meet—100m, javelin, shotput, and long jump—will be published in the next issues of the Saipan Tribune.