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PANTHERS STARS SHATTER FAR EAST MEET RECORDS

Brantley, Johnson set new track & field records

By Dave Ornauer

Stars and Stripes

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan – Two Guam High senior athletes, Cameron Brantley and Aaron Johnson, closed out the Panthers’ first Far East track and field meet appearance in five years in record-breaking style.

The two three-sport stars each shattered Far East meet records, Johnson the 14-year-old long-jump record and Brantley the 12-year-old 300-hurdles mark last Friday at Yokota High School’s Fred Bonk Field.

Guam High’s Aaron Johnson breaks the Far East long jump record of 6.71 meters. (photo by Dave Ornauer)

“It feels like a blessing. It’s my last year. I have to make it my best year,” said Brantley after becoming the first 300 hurdler to go under 40 seconds in a Far East meet, with a time of 39.88.

That topped the 2012 mark of 40.15 set by Yokota’s Fred Gustafsson. The Pacific regional and Guam national record is 39.25, set in 2003 by Darrell Bradford of Simon Sanchez of Guam.

On a sunny day with temperatures in the mid-70s, Brantley passed his foes on the back stretch before breaking clear on the far turn. “Once I hit the curve, I just ran my own race,” Brantley said.

In the long jump, Johnson leaped 6.71 meters in the second of three tries in the preliminary jumps. That mark stood through Johnson’s three final attempts.

“I just give thanks to everyone who supported me,” said Johnson, who like Brantley also played football and basketball. “Everyone out here is competitive and that helped elevate my level of competition.”

The two Guam High meet records helped culminate a two-day meet that featured 17 teams from Japan, Korea, Okinawa and Guam.

The Panthers competed in the meet for the first time since 2019, before the COVID pandemic, which shut down the 2020 and 2021 Far Easts.
Guam High’s boys finished fourth in DODEA-Pacific’s Division I standings with 98 points. Nile C. Kinnick was first with 133 and American School In Japan and Kadena of Okinawa shared second with 100.

The Panthers girls had 65 points, sixth behind Kinnick (163), Humphreys of South Korea (129), ASIJ (91), Kadena (79) and Seisen International of Japan (70).

“It’s really great for our kids” to attend Far East, said the Panthers coach, the legendary Joe Taitano. “It’s a different kind of competitive environment for us.”

Guam High also won the girls sprint-medley relay, two legs of 100 meters, one of 200 and one of 400. Alexandria Levy, Azaria Murrell-Hatten, Tierra Hearn and Brianni Soto ran that relay for the Panthers.

Johnson was also victorious in the boys 200 in 23.18 seconds and Brantley the 110 hurdles in 15.65 seconds. Levy came away with first place in the girls 300 hurdles in 49.14.

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COMING SOON …

Guam Track & Field National Championship May 26

All-Island Wrestling Alumni Tournament June 8

10th Micronesian Games from Marjuro

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