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2013 TRACK AND FIELD BEGINS

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By Derek Mandell

Islanders' Aria Perez-Theisen gets way ahead of the competition in the 3000-meter run. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Islanders’ Aria Perez-Theisen gets way ahead of the competition in the 3000-meter run. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

New venue, new faces, familiar results. The 2013 IIAAG track and field season kicked into gear Friday evening at Guam High track in Agana Heights with the defending boys’ champions John F. Kennedy Islanders and the 2012 girls’ champions Guam High School Panthers making a strong case in maintaining their titles.

JFK’s John Aquino IV began his season on a high note by finishing close to the high school boys 3000-meter record of 9:23.93 set by Christopher Magtoto of JFK in 2009. Aquino’s unofficial time of 9 minutes and 23 seconds has yet to be ratified and it is unclear whether or not he broke the record, however his dominance of the middle distance runs was more than convincing. The island’s top high school distance runner went out quick from the start and challenged others to follow, but built a lengthy advantage by the end of the race. (UPDATE: Aquino’s official time is 9:23.98, just missing the record)

“The officials don’t know yet (if the record was broken), but they said they’ll find out after the meet” said Aquino. “(The record) was the goal in mind but I managed to get first. So if I tied or broke the record, it didn’t matter.”

Dolphins' Ryan Teologo nearly taps the bar but was able to complete the high jump. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Dolphins’ Ryan Teologo nearly taps the bar but was able to complete the high jump. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Less than an hour after the 3000m, Aquino came back on top in the 1500m run with an unofficial time of 4 minutes and 26 seconds. JFK freshman Michael Murphy was second.

“My lungs were collapsing after the 3000m,” said Aquino on his dual victory performance. “It was a challenge, but it’s all from training hard…it was awesome.”

JFK’s Aria Perez-Theisen stood out in the girls middle distance events, and mirrored her teammate’s performance by winning both the 3000m and 1500m runs. Perez-Theisen, the defending girls’ 3000m champion and new JFK Islander, pulled away from Guam High’s Allison Bowman in the final straightaway to claim the top spot in the 1500m. The Islander trailed Bowman for most of the race before making her move with 200m remaining.

Islanders' Mimi Briggs competes in the girls long jump. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Islanders’ Mimi Briggs competes in the girls long jump. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

In the sprinting events, Guam High’s Aaron Whitaker led the way by winning the 100m, 400m, and was a member of the 4x100m team that took first. Whitaker was one of the island’s top cross country runners earlier in the school year, where he placed third overall at the IIAAG All Island Cross Country Championships.

“The reason behind me being in cross country was to stay in shape for soccer, because that’s my sport,” said Whitaker. “This is my first year doing track, but I was looking at my times and felt like I should go for it.”

Whitaker’s early season performances make him a top contender for the sprints this season.

“In cross country it was a lot of mile repeats. Whereas sprints you practice your starts, practice your strides, but I mainly practice with the relay team,” said Whitaker on the transition from distance to sprints. “I do enjoy sprints way more than distance, for sure.”

GW senior Ray Dionisio had a strong opening-meet performance in the field events by winning the boys shot with an unofficial throw of 12.09 meters.

Panthers' Calvin Harmon makes it look easy as he clears the bar in the second round of the high jump competition. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Panthers’ Calvin Harmon makes it look easy as he clears the bar in the second round of the high jump competition. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

“I think it’s a pretty good start to the season,” said Dionisio. “It was nice coming out here again and seeing new faces, but there’s a lot more to improve on and I’m going to work harder. I’m really desperate for a 13-meter throw.”

The discus throw was not held due to the safety net not being ready, however Dionisio has his sights set on improving his marks in the event this season.

“I really wanted to throw the discus because that’s my favorite event,” Dionisio added. “I’ve been looking forward to it all off-season and since the summer. Hopefully (the net) will be ready by the second meet.”

Full results here!

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