📅20 May 2017
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By Jay Leon Guerrero

For the second straight season, the Okkodo Bulldogs and the Guam High Panthers celebrated the IIAAG Track and Field Championships at the All-Island Meet. However, neither team repeated as champion.

Instead, they swapped championships with the Guam High Boys winning the title after a second place finish last year and the Okkodo Bulldog Girls celebrating their first title after finishing second last year as well. The JFK Islanders maintained their ranking from last season and finished third in both divisions.

Both coaches congratulated each other on a successful season. Panther Coach Joe Taitano added another title to his resume while his former student-athlete Desmond Mandell III made history once again for Okkodo winning the first IIAAG Track title for the girls after delivering the first IIAAG title last season for the boys.

“The goal was to be a contender and we knew we had a good shot at it for both divisions coming into the all-island meet,” said Mandell III.  “This program has come a long way, we are humbled to compete at this level now.”

Coach Joe Taitano was also proud of his team as well. “I am so ecstatic with the outcome today, the athletes worked hard this season and they deserve it. We knew Okkodo was going to be very tough tonight and I’m happy with a first place for the boys and second place for the girls against a strong (Okkodo) team as well as JFK,” said Taitano.

Last year, the Okkodo boys edged out the Panthers 132-130 in a close meet.

“Last year, we were tied and we were waiting for the scores from the triple jump and they ended up beating us by two points. This year, it was the triple jump again but we managed to sweep the medals in that event and it really helped us,” said Taitano.

The trio of DJ Williams (gold), RJ Kranz (silver) and Solomon White (bronze) swept the triple jump for valuable points to help the Panthers claim a slim 207-200 victory over Okkodo.

High school record holder Isaac Ventura won three holds as well for the Panthers to solidify their championship.

“First of all, I want to give all glory and honor to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Coming into the meet, I wanted to help my team by getting as many points as possible. I was a little disappointed with one race but hopefully we gathered enough to win the title for our school,” said Ventura.

Ventura had three golds (3000m, 1500m, 800m) but did not make the medal stand in the 400m race, coming in fourth place in a strong field.

Okkodo girls win first title

The Okkodo girls garnered 194 points over the Panthers’ 166 points to win their first girls IIAAG Track title in the school’s young existence.  Shania Bulala had three golds and a silver to solidify their chances as they celebrated after the announcement was made at the post-meet ceremony.

“Some of us didn’t meet our expectations and some of us exceeded our expectations tonight. The important thing is we did out best and I’m extremely proud of this team (for both boys and girls),” said Bulala. “When Okkodo first started we didn’t have any qualifiers, today we had so many athletes in different events and coach Desmond (Mandell III) deserves a lot of the credit for building this program,” said Bulala.

Other schools having success this year were the Islanders, FD, Academy, Southern, and Tiyan. The full results will posted. Southern finished fourth with 51 points in the boys division having success in the jumping events. The Friars had a dramatic turnaround from last season, finishing fifth with 45.5 points and a strong showing in the relay and throwing events.

The Sanchez girls finished fourth with 56 points with a bulk of their points coming from the jumping categories. The Cougars had 34 points with points coming from the throwing events and the sprints.

Boys Results:
Guam High – 207
Okkodo- 200
JFK- 69.5
Southern – 51
FD – 45.5
Simon Sanchez – 36
Tiyan – 11
GW – 2

Girls Results:
Okkodo – 194
Guam High – 166
JFK – 113
Simon Sanchez – 56
Academy – 34
Southern – 29
Tiyan – 28


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