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TRACK TEAM HEADS TO SAIPAN FOR OCEANIA CUP

Ten Guam athletes to take on Oleai track

By Jay Leon Guerrero

The Guam National Track and Field Federation is sending 10 athletes to compete this weekend for the prestigious Oceania Cup. Typhoon Mawar presented some obstacles for Team Guam, but the athletes are equally excited to showcase their hard work.

The 2023 Oceania Cup is scheduled for June 24-25 at Oleai Stadium in Saipan, CNMI. Oleai Stadium was the same venue as last year’s Pacific Mini Games and is currently the best track facility in Micronesia.

The Guam contingent will join Team Micronesia in the Cup event, competing against Melanesia and Polynesia. Local athletes have met standard times to make the squad, and the following athletes from Guam earned their spots in their respective events:

Men
Joseph Green: 100M, 200M
Nathan Castro: 100M, 200M, 400M
Mason Calma: 400M, 110 hurdles, 400 hurdles
Hugh Kent: 3000M, 1500M, 800M
Jan Almoite: 110H, Javelin

Women
Regine Tugade-Watson: 100M, long jump, triple jump
Erica Palisoc: 100M, 200M
Keira Paz: 3000M, 1500M, 800M
Genie Gerardo: Javelin, Shot Put, Discus
Melody Rosario: Javelin, Shot Put, Discus

Team manager
Riza Tugade

According to Tugade, some of the athletes will also participate in the relay events with team members from Micronesia.

The Guam contingent has a mixture, once again, of experience at the highest level of international competitions and young athletes still in high school.

Two-time Olympian Regine Tugade-Watson is Guam’s fastest woman and is looking to bring experience and speed to Oleai Stadium against the best in the Pacific. Joseph Green, who is currently racing for the University of Arizona, had a sub-11 second race at Oleai Stadium last year during the Mini Games. 

Two young athletes from Sanchez High School, Erica Palisoc and Jan Almoite, earned their place on the team without having a home track. “Erica (Palisoc) was coming off an injury during the season, so I think her still making the team with good times is worth mentioning,” said Tugade.

It’s a good mesh of different athletes with all different stories, but they all share a common goal to represent Guam well.

Representing Guam has some obstacles. Typhoon Mawar still leaves the island devastated with days left before heading to Saipan, which was spared from the Category 4 typhoon. “The aftermath left my family struggling to clean up the wreckage,” said Nathan Castro.

Castro said he is fortunate to have access to Naval Hospital and was able to utilize the facilities. “Having no power is difficult, but I try not to complain as I’m not the only person struggling through these conditions,” said Castro.

From some athletes training overseas, facilities were available prior to the typhoon. For local athletes, the tracks are unavailable, and the team was forced to limit themselves to training twice a week at the Dededo Sports Complex with only weeks leading up the Oceania Cup.

Tugade-Watson, who has been training in Florida, was scheduled to come home earlier to train with the team, but the typhoon pushed everything back.

Tudage-Watson said the biggest challenges were not having a facility to train on in the weeks leading up to the event. “Also, not having power, nutrition is quite a challenge. In Florida, I was on a meal plan,” said Tugade-Watson. “Don’t get me wrong, I can eat spam and Cup-O-Noodle for days, but it’s not the most nutritious,” joked Tugade-Watson.

“I haven’t met a lot of the younger athletes, and I only know them by name. I am excited to compete with them and watch them grow.”

Follow GSPN’s social media for live stream links and updates.

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