Ken Song momentarily traded his tennis racquet for running shoes and proceeded to run the fastest 200m and 800m in Northern Marianas Athletics’ Track and Field Open Meet held last Saturday at the Oleai Sports Complex.
The Pacific Games gold medalist was the fleetest afoot in the 200m, crossing the finish line in 26.47 to beat out Orrin Pharmin (26.47) and Beouch Ngirchongor (28.98) in the men’s open.
“Yeah I’ve never ran the 200 and I’ve never been a short distance runner so I was pretty shocked,” Song told Saipan Tribune.
Theo Rodgers won the men’s 18-and-under 200m with a time of 26.54 to nearly beat out Charles McDonald at 26.78. Third place in the division went to youngster Leon Dela Cruz at 27.66. In the masters 50-and-over, Kosuke Sato submitted a time of 28.02.
Song also topped the men’s open 800m with a time of 2:19.10, followed by Edward Dela Cruz and Jalen Lucido who clocked in at 2:29.96 and 2:38.69, respectively.
Sildrey Veloria beat Theo Rodgers in the 18-and-under, 2:33.35-2:35.15. In the men’s 50-and-over, Sato continued to defy Father Time with a second overall best of 2:22.37. Dr. Ron Snyder topped the men’s 55-59 with a time of 3:18.17.
“I’m honestly more surprised I was able to win the 800 because I haven’t been training running for about a year,” said Song.
When asked if he will be giving up tennis for track in next year’s Pacific Mini Games the CNMI will be hosting for the very first time, Song said he will try to do both.
“I’m not gonna switch but I will actually train track for the Mini Games,” he said.
Gabrielle Race, meanwhile, was true to her last name and celebrated a triumphant return to the track by winning the 800m in an upset of rising star Tiana Cabrera.
The daughter of CNMI Sports Hall of Famer Jeff Race topped the women’s open 800m after crossing the finish line in 2:41.66. Cabrera came in second overall and first in the women’s 18-and-under in 2:45.59, while Anika Snyder was third overall at 3:02.57 and second in the open.
Race said winning the 800m came as a shock to her. “I was actually surprised. I haven’t ran an 800m in five years or so since high school. I kind of just got out to have fun and see where I’m at thinking about the Mini Games next year. I’m thinking about it and I would like to run the 800m, 1,500m, 3,000, 5,000 whatever I can and who knows.”
In the 200m, incoming Marianas High School senior Liani DLG Acosta continued to turn heads with a time of 29.42 to top all comers. She was followed in the women’s 18-and-under by Cabrera at 32.36 and Maria Quitugua at 33.1.
She said topping the 200m was also a pleasant surprise considering she only started training for the event a few weeks ago. “I just pushed myself,” she said.
Aside from the Friday’s 800m and 200m, NMA also held events in the 3,000m last Friday and 100m, javelin, and discus last Saturday. Results of the latter three events will be published in the next issues of the Saipan Tribune.