Team Marianas tests mettle in AsPac X-Country meet


Team Marianas members poses with coaches Ron Snyder, left, and Kok H. Pang, right, before boarding their flight to Guam yesterday at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport. The squad will be competing in the 2017 Asia Pacific Invitational Cross Country Championships. (Lydia Tan)

Team Marianas will test its mettle against some of the region’s top runners in the 2017 Asia Pacific Invitational Cross Country Championships at the John F. Kennedy High School in Tamuning, Guam.

The race begins today with the five-kilometer individual run with the girls going first followed by the boys. The 5K course will be around JFK school’s grounds starting at the track oval. Then this Saturday, the team race will begin at Ypao beach with participants alternating in running 1.6 miles each.

The 10-member Team Marianas is composed of Saipan International School’s Clayton Tyler Izuka, Jae Hyuk Jung, Malika Miyawaki, and Tania Tan, and Agape Christian School’s Daiwai Cai, Peter Wang, Ella Zhang, Amelia Yu, and Tianbo Zhang.

SIS headmaster Ron Snyder is the team’s coach with ACS principal Rev. Kok H. Pang as his assistant. Northern Marianas Athletics secretary general Robin Sapong is the team manager, while Lydia Tan acts as the squad’s volunteer chaperone.

Team Marianas members had previously competed in the two legs of the NMA-organized 2017 All Schools Cross Country Series held last Sept. 23 and Oct. 7. The last leg of the race is on Oct. 28, while the finals will be on Nov. 11.

Sapong said that since this would be the first time that the team will be going up against a competitive field, the Asia Pacific race will be a good exposure for them.

“You have runners coming from Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and China aside from Guam. These are the best high school cross country runners and some of them already knew the course. This exposes them to a high level competition in a very strong field. For them to place in the Top 5 will be very difficult. Japan is very competitive.”

Aside from the races, the event will have a meet and greet with two former Olympians in Micronesia and Micronesian Games gold medalists and record holders.

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

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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