It looks like the opening leg of the high school division races in the 2020-2021 Public School System/Northern Marianas Athletics All Schools Cross Country Series may be a preview of the battle for the championship between rivals Agape Christian School and Saipan International School.
Agape and SIS are the only teams to submit a full roster in the boys and girls U18 division of the high school races that will be held this Saturday morning at the CPA Airport Field.
The Torchbearers, who took last year’s boys U18 title after scoring 26 points against SIS’ 45 (the Top 5 runners from each school received points and the team with the least points was declared the winner), has Samuel He, Jason Cao, Ray Qi, Eason Tang, Peter Hu, Allen Luo, and alternate Caleb Dai for this weekend’s 3.1-mile run. The Geckos, on the other hand, will be pinning their hopes on Rex Pixley, Jack Linden, Sam Culp, Jesus Sablan, Xin Paul Chen, Jayden Shin, and alternate Matthew Berline.
In the girls U18 division where Agape is also the defending champion after downing SIS last season, 31-38, the former’s complete roster is made up of Elizabeth Xu, Emma Pang, Grace Shi, Eunice and Sally Wu, Elim Huang, and alternate Vivian Wu. SIS’ side has Tiana Cabrera, Linxi Cai, Rachel Shin, Pyper Liske-Clark, Jinnie Thompson, Helen Kim, and alternate Francine Asedillo.
The U18 races will have 57 runners, including those representing the Tinian Junior and Senior High School, Mr. Carmel School, and Marianas High School.
The Tinian Stallions have a complete boys U18 team with siblings Cody and Collin Dela Cruz leading the squad and joining forces with Peyton Christian, Kylle Cruz, Raiden Reyes, and Christian Lucero. In the girls U18, Tinian has only three entries in Emiliana King, Fyema Pelaez, and Cheralaine Epity.
The Dolphins have five runners in the boys U18—Josh Joson, Anthony Bergancia, Chad Escaner, Jiam Maniago, and Blake Mister—and four in the girls U18—Ariel Narvaez, Allyssa Angeles, Christelle Itaas, and Katrina Costales.
Mt. Carmel has a full roster in the girls U18 with Aleai Santos, Fiona Bucaig, Iver Dimaun, Erin Frink, Penelope Sablan, and Ha’ani Seman racing for the Knights. Skyler Poon, Jihwan Ryu, and Lee Seungwo of the Boys U18 division rounded the MCS’ lineup.
The high school races will implement a cutoff time for safety measures with runners required to complete the course in 35 minutes or they will be escorted out of the field. No shaking of hands all throughout the event and runners must wear mask before and after the races. Only runners and race officials are allowed on the course and finishers must leave the field right after they complete the race.
Runners in the boys U18 division will take the course first, starting at 6:30am, while the girls will have their turn at 7am.
High school runners must compete in at least one of the three qualifiers to be eligible in next month’s finale races where the champions in each division will be determined by points (the team with the least points wins). Points will only be awarded to the Top 4 runners of each school.