The Father Duenas Memorial School Friars and Academy of Our Lady of Guam Cougars defeated the St. John’s School Knights in an Independent Interscholastic Athletic Association of Guam cross-country meet Nov. 17 at Two Lovers Point in Upper Tumon.

The Friars and Cougars brought an army to the meet and are looking to contend for an IIAAG championship that has eluded them for over a decade.

The Friars and Cougars defeated the Knights, with the Friars winning 26-33 and the Cougars winning 24-35.

Taylor-Ann Santos was the first female to cross the finish line in 23 minutes, 16 seconds. Santos said she is having fun with the team this season and is hoping for the Cougars to finish high in the rankings at the All-Island meet Dec. 9.

“It’s possible for us to finish in the top. We just need to keep training hard and prepare mentally for the All-Island,” Santos said.

St. John’s Clark finishes first

Alexander Clark finished first overall in 18:33 for the Knights. Clark sprinted to the finish line, finishing almost 90 seconds faster than the next runner.

Clark said he will look to help his team move up in the rankings and, despite the loss against FD, the Knights are working hard to improve.

Individually, Clark is ranked in the top five and he said Guam High School has runners who are fast, sharing insight on the competition.

“The two Guam High runners have really been working hard and you can see that in their results. It will be a challenge to catch and surpass them,” Clark said.

Strength in numbers

The Friars and Cougars are on the verge of their best team finish in over a decade. With a combined squad of 47 runners, the Friars and Cougars look to make a championship run.

“We have a lot of talented freshmen that have signed up to run this season,” Santos said.

The Cougars’ pack running helped earn enough points to hold off the talented Knights, who were without Asia Pacific Invitational female winner Jordan Baden. 

The Cougars finished first, fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth to secure the victory against the Knights. Madeleine Lobaton, Avianna Borja, Camille Leon Guerrero and Maiya Franco all finished in the top 10 for Academy to clinch the victory.

For the Knights, Elizabeth Higley and Hazel Wilson came in second and third, respectively. When Baden returns to the lineup and is 100%, the Knights will also make a run to contend for a team championship.

Erwin Manibusan Jr. was the first Friar to cross the finish line in 20:02, which was good for second place overall. Friar senior CJ Lobaton followed in 20:34 to finish in the third position. 

Jacob Jackson and Luca Flores from St. John’s finished in fourth and fifth place, respectively. The Friars pack followed and occupied the sixth through 19th positions to secure the victory.

Sean Halehale, Napu Blas and Ryan Douglas finished sixth, seventh and eighth overall for FD.

“This year, our pack running has been the strongest it’s been since my freshman year,” Lobaton said. “To begin our season, we worked on aerobic endurance and now we will focus on speed workouts. From now until the All-Island meet, we will work on speed to help on our final kicks.”