With most of Team Guam enjoying a day of rest on Day 5 at the 2019 Pacific Games in Apia, Samoa, swimming and golf were the island's only sports to take center stage.
Jagger Stephens, the only swimmer in medal contention, placed fifth in the 100-meter freestyle. His time, 52.07 seconds, although not a personal best, was 0.34 faster than his entry time.
“I've been having a blast with the competition out here,” Stephens said. “As for my swim, I went out there and followed through with the plan I had been developing throughout the year in practice.”
“I left everything I could in the pool and, for that, I'm both grateful and satisfied,” he added. “I'm humbled and so proud to represent Guam, and grateful to GNOC (Guam National Olympic Committee) and the Guam Swimming Federation for this amazing opportunity.”
Swimming, finishing its fourth straight day of competition, wraps up today.
Guam’s men’s and women’s golf teams, mostly struggling through the first three days of competition, enter into Saturday’s final day relaxed, with nothing to lose.
The four-day tournament, featuring athletes vying for individual and team positioning, is taking place at the Royal Samoa Golf Course, Fagali’i.
The women’s team, comprising Kristin Oberiano, Rose Tarpley, and Emiri Sunga, enters into Saturday placed seventh.
The men’s team, made up of Robert Manalo, Eduardo Terlaje, Ricardo Terlaje, and John-Anthony Muna, entering Day 4, is placed eighth.
Oberiano, with a three-day 235/+19, in 15th place, leads the women. She plans on wrapping up her Pacific Games by enjoying the experience.
“The last day of (the) tournament, for me, will be about enjoying the opportunity to play golf in Samoa and representing Guam,” Oberiano said. “I’m a little bit too far off the lead to expect to medal, but I’m hoping to beat my personal best, … as well as connect with my playing competitors.”
After finishing Day 1 placed sixth, the Harvard University doctoral candidate struggled with the game’s mental aspects.
“I’ve mostly struggled with staying focused and staying positive on the course, which is essential to playing good competitive golf,” Oberiano said. “That said, I had great putts out there and good shots.”
Daryl Poe, Team Guam’s head coach, realizes that making the podium is a long shot, but remains optimistic.
“The pressure is definitely off,” Poe said. “To medal (is) surely not impossible, but the team will need to shoot lights out tomorrow and (get) a lot of help from the leaders.”
“Everyone is thinking positive and determined to play well tomorrow,” he added. “We will take (it) one shot at a time and try to post some good numbers early, and see what happens.”
Eduardo Terlaje, 16, Guam’s youngest golfer at the Pacific Games, has been gaining valuable experience and posting respectable scores. After three days, the prodigy has shot an impressive 227, 10 over par.
“I think, so far, I played pretty well although I did have a couple (of) bad holes on the third day,” Eduardo Terlaje said. “But, my overall experience, so far, (has been) great, and a learning experience.”