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TRACK PROFILES: TUGADE & WHITAKER

Get to know JFK Isladners’ Regine Tugade as the sophomore track star has already broken records in the 2014 season, as well as Guam’s feature athlete Aaron Whitaker.

by Michael Cruz

Regine Tugade

Age: 16

Height: 5’4

School: JFK

Year: Sophomore

Favorite School Subject: Math

Events: 100 m (12.55), 200 m (26.25), Long Jump (15’ 11” 34 feet), Triple Jump (33’7.54 feet)

Favorite Chamorro Dish: Chicken Kelaguen

Track Comparison: Pollara Cobb and Aubrey Posadas

GSPN: You raced on April 11th at the GTFA HS Invitational. Your 100 m and 200 m times were fast. Were you aware that you’re currently the fastest in those events for high school in the Pacific International Area?

RT: Yes, I was aware and I am very glad. The day after the meet, I constantly kept checking the website to see if the results were up. Once they were posted, I was looking through the results and ended up finding my name at the top of the Top 10 Overseas list. I always wanted to be #1 on that list because in middle school, I held top spots for my events as well.

GSPN: Your times tied the Guam national record for 100 m and for the 200 m your only .18 seconds off the national record. How did you improve so fast in one year? (Tugade ran 13.11 in 100 m and 27.13 in 200 m as a JFK Freshmen).

RT: Well, my times from last year slowly progressed to my current times. After the regular high school season, I improved my times for both events in Tahiti during the Oceania Regional Championships held during the summer (100m: 13.06; 200m: 26.68). An important factor that helped me improve a lot is how I tend to stay fit throughout the whole year. During the summer after school ends, I usually still train if I have any upcoming national competitions. Also, I join other sports that keep me in shape. I play volleyball and basketball for JFK for the first two quarters, and start track conditioning in 3rd quarter. Another thing that contributed to my improvements is that this particular season, I’m a little more motivated during workouts in practice. I try to pace and keep up with the boys, and this, along with dieting a lot healthier, I was able to progress rather significantly.

Regine Tugade with Saipan representatives (Zarinae Sapong & Reilla Ichiuo) taken after the Youth Olympics trials held at Sydney, Australia in March 2014. (courtesy photo)

Regine Tugade with Saipan representatives (Zarinae Sapong & Reilla Ichiuo) taken after the Youth Olympics trials held at Sydney, Australia in March 2014. (courtesy photo)

GSPN: Do you plan on running for Guam at the Micronesian Games 2014, South Pacific Games 2015, and Olympics 2016?

RT: Of course! I’ve always had big dreams and goals to run at an Olympic level. I started track in 6th grade and since then, I have realized my potential and started setting high goals for myself, the biggest of them being to compete in Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic Games. I am currently a national track and field team member, and have competed in a few competitions off-island, but I would definitely love to represent Guam in the Micronesian Games (Guam is not sending a track team) as well as the South Pacific Games. All of my past experiences with higher levels of competition are important aspects to why I have been able to improve myself.

GSPN: Do you have aspirations of sprinting in college and do you have a dream school that you want to attend?

RT: I’ve always wanted to attend college abroad at one of the top-notch schools, and the best way I could get there is through sports. I’ve always wanted to attend college at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) because it is one of the most prestigious schools in the U.S. regarding academics and has one of the best track programs in the country. Having the opportunity to run for their track team would be highly beneficial for me, as I would be able to improve even more than I am right now.

GSPN: Is there anyone you would like to thank? Also any advice for the Guam youth?

RT: First and foremost, I would like to thank God for blessing me with the talent I have in the sport. Also, I am thankful for my parents for their unconditional support in the sport that I love. And lastly, I’d like to thank my coach, Jay Antonio, who’s been training me since the summer after 8th grade, for molding me into the athlete I am now and for giving me workouts so hard that make me hate sports, until I finally finish and realize how much stronger it has made me.

And for all the young and aspiring athletes out there on Guam, don’t let anyone get in your way. In my very first year of joining any sport, I was ridiculed and made fun of. I was called ‘weak’ and was not expected to make the team for any sports. But that didn’t stop me. Since then, I took all the negative things people said about me in sports and used it as motivation to better myself as an athlete. I loved proving people wrong whenever someone would underestimate how well of an athlete I am and would be. As cliché as it may sound, you ultimately should never give up on yourself. Also remember that the difference between a great athlete and an outstanding one is their attitude and sportsmanship. Always stay humble throughout your greatest victories. And lastly, you can only go as far as you think you can, so set high goals for yourself and strive to achieve each and every one of them.

http://www.athletic.net/TrackAndField/Division/Top.aspx?DivID=49784

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Aaron Whitaker

Age: 19

School: Western Oregon (Guam High 2013)

Hometown: Agana Heights, Guam

Year: Freshman

Events: 49.01 (400 m) 1:55.16 (800 m) 3:22.55 (4 x 400 Relay)  

Track Comparison: David Flores Wilson and TJ Quan

Aaron Whitaker is off to fast start since relocating to Western Oregon in 2014. The 2013 Guam High graduate ran personal bests of 49.01 (400 m) and 1:55.16 (800 m). He qualified for the conference championships which will be held May 9. Whitaker spent the Fall training in Guam and arrived in the Spring just in time for the outdoor season.

Aaron Whitaker and Joshua Illustre

left to right: Aaron Whitaker and Joshua Illustre (courtesy photo)

http://www.wouwolves.com/news/2014/4/19/TRACK_0419144156.aspx

Other Notable Athletes

John Aquino IV- JA4  will be attending Iowa Western Community College on a track schloarship. John will compete in cross country and the stepplechase also. Arguably the best distance runner that JFK has produced.

IMG_1723

John Aquino well ahead of the competition in the 3000m races. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Josh Illustre- Josh is a freshman on the University of Portland track team. He has posted personal records the 800 m (2:04) and 1500 m (4:18).

D’Andre Waever- The former Guam High multi-sport star is now a senior at UNC Pembroke. He runs track and posted times of 11.19 (100 m) and 23.13 (200 m).

Mark Ecija- The former Guam High athlete relocated to Virginia for his senior year. He posted a personal best of 11.02 (100 m). Plans to walk-on and run track at Texas Tech.

Mark Ecija sprints ahead of the competition. (courtesy photo)

Mark Ecija sprints ahead of the competition. (courtesy photo)

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