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PANTHERS POWER THROUGH 7th STRAIGHT BOYS TRACK TITLE

Geckos take over girls crown

By Jay Leon Guerrero

The 2024 ISA Track and Field season came to an end Thursday evening at the JFK Track. One dynasty continues, another comes to an end with the Panther Boy’s team winning their seventh straight championship and GW Geckos winning the girls’ title. The Geckos end the Panthers’ three year reign.

Two athletes stood out to help their respective teams win the championship. Aaron Johnson finally accomplished his goal of winning four gold medals to keep the Guam High dynasty alive under legendary coach Joe Taitano. Aleah Castro peaked at the right time, winning four golds to help the GW Geckos win the girls’ title under GW head coach Desmond Mandell III.

Here are the full team scores.

Boys Team Scores:
1. Guam High Panthers, 158 points
2. JFK Islanders, 114 points
3. GW Geckos, 80 points
4. FD Friars, 71 points
5. Okkodo Bulldogs, 32 points
6. Simon Sanchez Sharks, 22 points
7. Southern Dolphins, 12 points
8. Tiyan Titans, 11 points
9. GAA Angels, 10 points

Girls Team Scores:
1. GW Geckos, 141 points
2. Guam High Panthers, 108 points
3. JFK Islanders, 70 points
4. Simon Sanchez Sharks, 60 points
5. Academy Cougars, 48 points
6. Okkodo Bulldogs, 28 points
7. Southern Dolphins, 22 points
8. Notre Dame Royals, 14 points
9. Tiyan Titans, 10 points
10. GAA Angels, 8 points

Johnson breaks long jump record
Aaron Johnson was incredible since his freshman year and capped off his high school career with four medals. Johnson won the 100m, 200m, and 400m and broke the high school record in the Long Jump with a distance of 6.83 meters. The old record was 6.73 meters held by GW’s Eric Alegre in 2015.

“The power of prayer got me going to this moment today,” said Johnson. “My brother started the legacy, so it was a goal of mine to continue it. Being under coach Taitano, it has been a huge blessing. He has taught me so much,” said Johnson.

300 meter record shattered
“In the beginning of the season, we saw athletes making their personal records (PR) and even breaking records, and we were behind,” said Castro.  “Coach Des (Mandell) told us to have patience and to not expect fast times in the beginning.” 

2024 All-Island Track & Field Meet. (photo by Dj Foster)

“We all stuck with the plan, and we will eventually peak. At the end of it all, our coach was right,” said Castro.

Castro saved her best for last, breaking the the 300 meter hurdles high school record with a time of 46.76 seconds. The old record was 47.01 seconds by Stefani Loisel from Guam High in 2012. Castro won her four golds in the 100 meters, 110 meter hurdles, 300 meter hurdles, and the 200 meters.

The Gecko girls collectively performed well to win the championship with 141 total points

Gwenziah Barcinas won the 800-meter event with a time of 2:37. Maeva Conroy won the 3000-meter event with a time of 12:12. Sophomore Hazel Wilson was also key in the Gecko victory with four silver medals for the Geckos in the 400m, 100m hurdles, 300m hurdles and the 4x100m relay.

Kanemoto breaks her own Javelin record

Simon Sanchez all-around athlete Kayna Kanemoto broke her own javelin record with a distance of 35.32 meters to win the gold medal. Kanemoto’s broke her old record of 34.17 meters set earlier in the season.

Southern High’s freshman Lana Quinata won two gold medals for the Dolphins with victories in the Shot Put and the Discus. “I’m excited to win this for our school. I can’t wait to do this again next season,” said Quinata. Quinata threw for her PR’s with a distance of 9.00 meters in the Shot Put and 29.22 meters in the Discus. Her goal for next season: “throw farther!”

Brianni Soto helped the Guam High Panthers with three gold medals in the 400m, 4x100m relay, and the 4x400m relay events.

“It’s been an honor working with coach Taitano. He has taught all of us to be better athletes and also better people,” said Soto. “This season has been a memorable one and made us closer in friendship, especially after traveling together as a group in Japan for the Far East Championships.”

The JFK Islanders won third in the girls division, holding off the Sharks by 10 points. Miachloe Carlos Decano won three medals – a gold, a silver, and a bronze for JFK. Decano won the 1500m event by one second to earn the gold medal. Decano won silver in the 800m event and bronze in the 3000m event.

Santos scoops gold for Academy

Taylor-Ann Santos won both jumping events at the sand pit, winning gold for the Cougars in the Long and Triple Jump events. Santos jumped a distance of 4.75 meters in the Long Jump and later recorded a PR in the triple jump with a distance of 10.24 meters.

Santos had a goal of getting four medals for the Cougars, but a bad start left her off the podium in the 100-meter sprinting event. “That start could have been better in the 100 event,” said Santos. “But I had to recover from it and focus on my other events.” Santos regrouped and placed third in the 200 meter event, winning her third medal of the evening for Academy.

Kent finishes with three gold!

Hugh Kent won three gold medals for the JFK Islanders, helping the team win second place with 114 points. “My goal coming into the season was to break records, and I surprised myself by getting a record on the first meet,” said Kent.

Kent leaves his high school career with three high school records in the 800m, 1500m, and 3000m distance events. What’s next for Kent? “I’m nursing an injury right now, so I’m going to take it easy before starting to train for the Oceania Chanpionships in Fiji this summer,” said Kent. Kent said he thanked his family and friends and also coach Jay Antonio for the support throughout his decorated high school in Track and Cross Country.

Guam High senior Cameron Brantley was also instrumental in the Panther dynasty run with three gold medals. Brantley won the hurdle events, the 110m and 300m hurdles, and anchored the 4x400m relay team. “It was a good run! All glory goes to God,” said Brantley.

The Father Duenas Friars finished their season off strong on the field events, winning two gold medals. In the Shot Put event, four Friars placed in the top six. Donovan Paulino (gold) and Alonzo Acosta (silver) went 1-2 in the Shot Put.

The Friars also went 1-2 in the Javelin. Giovanni Palad (gold) and Javin Meno (silver) both hit PR distances in the Javelin. The Friars edged out the Islanders in the 4×400 meter relay to finish fourth in team totals.

Guam Adventist Academy freshman Evan Mendiola won gold in the Discus event for the Angels. “It feels good to bring this medal to our school, and I give all glory to God,” said Mendiola. Mendiola threw for a PR distance of 36.40 meters.

Ian Mansfield won gold in the triple jump for the Geckos with a distance of 12.13 meters. Alexander Clark was second in the 3000m event with a time of 10:02. Jacob Jackson PR’d in the 110m and the 300m hurdle events to put up valuable points to help the Geckos win third in the team standings. 

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO BY:

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COMING SOON …

4th Quarter Post Season

Boys Volleyball Champion v Champion on May 19

QUICK HITS

The St. Paul Warriors are the 2024 IIAAG Boys Middle School Basketball League Champions! The Warriors defeated the 2nd seed Andersen Dragons 60-47 to cap off their undefeated season.
Mario Bork led the Warriors with 20 points in the championship game.
—————————————–
Sad News: Guam’s basketball community received word that long-time coach Gerrard ‘Gerry’ Barnes succumbed to cancer and passed away on May 7. 
Coach Barnes led the heralded Andersen Bombers from the 1980’s until recent years.
He also coached the Guam national team and at Simon Sanchez.
Coach Barnes was 73.

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