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Pacific Games

VETERAN LLARENAS SHARES GOLDEN THOUGHTS

35-year-old leads young team to gold

Danny Llarenas has had a storied tennis career representing Guam for the better part of the last two decades. Now 35, Llarenas has taken all that experience, to include countless Davis Cup matches, to lead Guam to its first ever men’s tennis team medal at the Pacific Games, winning the team gold earlier this week in the Solomon Islands.

GSPN caught up with Llarenas to get his thoughts on the golden moments.

GSPN: Was gold one of your goals going into these Games?

DL: Yes of course, we went in as the under dogs to everyone there. But as a team we knew we could win it. And that’s what we were aiming to do.

GSPN: What part of the team tournament did you feel we had a chance at gold?

DL: From the beginning of the tournament. We knew we could win.

GSPN: How much pressure did you have being the senior member of the team?

DL: Well I did feel a great amount of pressure because it is something Guam has never done. But that feeling of pressure is also a privilege, so I was soaking it all in.

GSPN: After Camden Camacho lost the singles match to force the doubles, what was going through your head?

DL: When Camden lost, I knew I had to get myself ready again to play doubles, and who I was going to play with for the deciding match.

GSPN: What was the strategy with you and Mason (Caldwell) in the doubles?

DL: It was such a big moment our number one priority was to stay calm and play at a slow tempo so we don’t rush but also be aggressive.

GSPN: How was the pressure? Chemistry? In the final match…

DL: It was intense but I thought we did a good job taking in the moment and enjoying the opportunity to represent Guam on this stage.

GSPN: Give us some communication insight with you and Mason in that final match….

DL: Mason and I have very similar game styles in doubles so I knew we would put a lot of pressure on our opponents. So, it was more important we both tried our best to slow things down and make our opponents play at our tempo and not rush. I thought Mason did an amazing job keeping his composure and he served unbelievable! (The doubles match sealed gold for Guam 6-4, 6-4)

men’s tennis team takes the first Pacific Games medal ever winning the team gold

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QUICK HITS

Shawn Bamba won the Arizona state wrestling championship while siblings Jussiah and Justyn took third place in their divisions at state.
Shawn (12th) won the 150-lb division while Jussiah (11th) took bronze in the 120-lb class and Justyn (9th) took bronze in the 106-lb category.
All three were born on Guam before moving to Surprise, Arizona in 2014, where they all picked up wrestling in 2016.
Their parents are Justin and Shannon Bamba from Pago Bay.
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Christian Delos Santos, son of Richard Delos Santos (Barrigada) and Norma Larimer Delos Santos (Dededo), won the Kentucky High School Athletic Association wrestling state championship in the 113-lb weight class.
His sister Naiya took 3rd place in the 100-lb girls division.

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