SIS, Agape runners off to AsPac X-Country

Saipan International School’s Tania Tan is near completion of the race in the second leg of the Northern Marianas Athletics 2017 Cross Country Series last Saturday at the Airport Field. (Jon Perez)

High school runners from Saipan International School and Agape Christian School will be making a trip down south for the 2017 Asia Pacific Invitational Cross Country Championships set in Guam on Oct. 20 and 21.

Agape and SIS cross country runners will represent the CNMI in the annual event that will also have competitors from Japan, South Korea, Palau, and the Philippines aside from the host.

Members of the boys and girls teams were the Top 6 runners in the U18 division of the first two legs of the Northern Marianas Athletics 2017 Cross Country Series. Agape’s Jonathan Xiong will be leading the six-member boys squad and will be joined by his schoolmates Peter Wang and Daiwai Cai, and SIS’ Alex Sohoon Park, Jae Hyuk Jung, and Clayton Tyler Izuka. Xiong (20:29), Wang (21:25), and Cai (22:24) were the Top 3 finishers in the boys’ U18 division of the second leg of the NMA Cross Country Series held last Saturday at the Airport Field.

Mt. Carmel School’s Christian Villacrusis, who topped the first leg and a frequent contender in NMA’s annual race, was supposed to join Team CNMI but begged off due to academic commitments.

Agape’s Ella Zhang, SIS’ Tania Tan, and Amelia Yu also of ACS will spearhead the girls side. They were the Top 3 placers in the girls U18 division of last Saturday’s races with times of 23:44, 24:01, and 28:04, respectively. Malika Miyawaki of SIS and Agape’s Tianbo Zhang and Ying Zhang are the other members of the girls squad.

The CNMI runners had their practice at 5am yesterday at the American Memorial Park and the Beach Road Pathway.

SIS head master Ronald Edward Snyder will coach the 12-member CNMI team with ACS principal Rev. Kok H. Pang as his assistant. NMA secretary general Robin Sapong will accompany them as team manager.

Snyder said their practice focused on checking the pace of the runners.

“We just wanted them to get their pace. I’m proud of the dedication they showed since they gave up extra hours of sleep time just to practice. This is a quality that coaches look into with their runners.”

Meanwhile, Sapong said NMA’s annual cross country race is part of their efforts to continue promoting a healthy lifestyle among the youth and also improve the skills of CNMI’s athletes.

NMA will partially assist in the cost of airfare and accommodation of Team CNMI for its Guam trip. The squad will join runners from other schools in a meet and greet with two former Olympians in Micronesia and Micronesian Games gold medalists and record holders.

Christian Academy in Japan, Father Duenas Memorial School, George Washington High School, Guam High School, International School of Sacred Hearts, John F. Kennedy High School, Okkodo High Schol, Seisen International School, Simon Sanchez High School, Southern High School, St. Mary’s International School, Taejon Christian International School, The American School in Japan, Tiyan High School, Yongsan International School, Faith Academy Philippines, Seoul American School, and Palau High School are the other competing teams.

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Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez has been covering local and international sports events for more than 15 years. His sports writing career started when he joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, when he was in college.

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