Team A&L wins Taga Kids relay

Posted on Aug 25 2021

From left, Team 1st Tri, Team A&L, and Team Sus Imposters pose on top of the medal podium after the relay race of last Saturday’s Taga Kids triathlon at the Paupau Beach complex. (Mark Rabago)

Team A&L won the relay portion of the Taga Kids Triathlon organized by the Triathlon Association of the CNMI early Saturday morning at the Paupau Beach complex.

The team was just a two-person outfit with Arielle Mae Matutino tackling the 50m swim in the waters off Paupau Beach and Chris Lucas Esdrelon taking on the challenge of the 2-loop bike and the 2-loop run around the complex. They managed to complete the course in 12:14 to beat out Team Sus Imposters and Team 1st Tri.

Esdrelon’s father, Elmer, was happy that his son’s team was victorious in the Taga Kids relay.

“Of course, I’m proud of my son Lucas. They’re very serious in their training. I’m also encouraging my son to do more training and in the future do the whole triathlon solo,” he said.

Team Sus Imposters settled for runner-up honors after Alonzo Acosta (swim), Amara Acosta (bike), and Jack Raho (run) timed in at 12:25.

The Acostas’ mother, Renee, said Team Sus Imposters fully embodied sportsmanship during last Saturday’s race.

“They did more than just have fun and placed second, they had heart. After they finished their leg, they went back into the course, running and cheering alongside the other children who were struggling to finish. These were kids the team did not know… strangers… and that’s truly what these competitions are about. More important than the medals around their necks, they learned and experienced what it truly means to be a true sportsman with heart, grit, and determination,” she said.

Renee said she’s very appreciative of TRAC for bringing back Taga Kids and showing children the importance not only of competition but genuine sportsmanship as well.

“My son, Alonzo, told me that day…. ‘Mom, I’ve never felt more alive,’ And I told him, ‘You feel that way because more than your medals, you did not leave any child behind today. You went back and ran alongside them. Cheering them on, equals, regardless of the race results, she said.’”

Team 1st Tri of B.J. Chisato and Sheinaya Mae Acuvera came in third in the children’s triathlon sponsored by Bridge Capital LLC and Brabu Pharmacy & Wellness Center.

“I’m very proud of them! A lot of people say Sheina May is overweight for her age and all that but it doesn’t stop her from doing things she loves. I can’t wait for the next competition my kids can join and this is amazing! It definitely helps with their health and boosts their confidence. I want her to keep doing things she loves despite what other people says and she’s in it to win it,” said Rose Chisato.

TRAC president Manny Sitchon he’s ecstatic that they were able to finally organize the Taga Kids triathlon.

“The Taga Kids was very fun and enjoyable. It’s a bit chaotic though but in a nice way because of the parents who were all over the course. All the kids seemed to have enjoyed themselves especially those who came home with medals,” he said.

On the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022 tryouts earlier in the day, Sitchon said because of the absence of some triathletes they will be holding a couple of more tryouts before deciding on who will make up the CNMI National Triathlon Team.

“It was a nice turnout, but we have some registered participants who were not able to come and some were off-island. Those who weren’t able to make it will be joining us in the next series of tryouts. There’s still no set date set and we want to encourage those who want to become part of the national team to take part in the tryouts,” he said.

As per the Pacific Games Council manual, TRAC earlier said that to be eligible for the Mini Games an athlete must be a U.S. passport-holder and must have resided in the CNMI for five years.

The 2022 Mini Games will be held in the CNMI from June 17 to 25. Triathlon, one of nine sports that will be offered in the Mini Games, will have 53 participants and will be held in the southernmost island of the CNMI on Rota.

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at

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