Mt. Carmel School’s Kaithlyn Chavez and Francisco M. Sablan Middle School’s Christian Lucero had triumphant debuts in the 2020-2021 Public School System/Northern Marianas Athletics All Schools Cross Country Series.
Chavez and Lucero joined the second leg of the competition held last Saturday at the CPA Airport Field after missing the series opener and stole the thunder from the favored Agape Christian School runners. The Mt. Carmel School student emerged as the overall top finisher in the middle school race, winning the girls U14 division after completing the 2.1-mile run around the 14-minute mark (official time was not recorded). Lucero followed Chavez to the finish line a few seconds later to rule the boys U14 division.
The FMS student rounded the two-lap course way ahead of opening leg winner and Agape runner Peter Peng, who dropped to seventh place in last weekend’s second qualifier. Peng’s teammate Joseph Li came in at second in the boys U14 and was followed Saipan International School’s Joseph Li and Gyu Hyeon Park, and another Agape bet, Danny Cheng. SIS’ Casey Chambers, Mt. Carmel’s June Yu, and Saipan Community School’s Elija Ye completed the Top 10, while other finishers in the division were SIS’ Kyle Kramer and Peter White, Agape’s Boxin Chen, SCS’ Dwight Crisostomo and David Ye, and Hopwood’s Charles Guiang and John Quidato.
In the girls U14 race, Chavez prevailed against 12 runners, including first leg winner Barbara Wang of Agape. Chavez and Wang were neck-and-neck on their way to completing the first lap of the course before the Mt. Carmel student broke away heading out of the finish line loop. Chavez was still behind Lucero going into the last 400m and change of the race, but the former caught up with the latter and eventually took the driver’s seat just before she made a left turn toward the finish line loop.
Joining Chavez and Wang in the Top 5 of the girls middle school race were SIS’ Savita Sikkel, Agape’s Serena Chen, and the former’s sister, Julie Anne Chavez. Rounding out the girls U14 finishers list were Agape’s Esther and Jenny Xu and Ruth Zhang, SIS’ Rebecca Eaton, Phoenix Gross, and Hoo Wang, and FMS’ Teneasha Diaz and Nerita Sellem.
With the second leg of the middle school race in the books, only one qualifying event is left and it will be held this Saturday also at the CPA Airport Field. Runners in the U14 age group must race in at least one qualifying event to earn a spot in the championship round set for Dec. 5.
Each school is allowed to field six runners per division plus one alternate both in the last qualifier and the final race. In the championship round, only the results of the Top 4 runners of each school will be counted to determine the division winners. Agape is the defending champion in both the girls and boys U14 age groups. Schools without at least four runners will not qualify for the team championship.