By N.A. Rodriguez Jr.
Gymnastics, chess, baseball, taekwondo and track&field provided rich source of medals for athletes from Flora at the just-concluded 2017 Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association (CARAA) Meet held in Baguio City on Feb. 4-8.
Flora contributed a total of two individual gold medals and four team championship gold medals as Apayao finished fifth in the over-all medal tally with its 16-33-61 gold-silver-bronze haul.
The local athletes’ strong performance in the annual sports conclave gave way for Team Apayao to uplift the province from its sixth place in 2016 (6-10-5 G-S-B) to third in 2017 (11-12-20) in the Elementary Division and from seventh in 2016 (2-12-35) to fifth in 2017 (5-21-41) in Secondary level.
The total medals won by the local bets stood at 20 or seven gold, 6 silver and 7 bronze. But each individual medal in any event is counted as one and each team medal also counted as one.
Four students of Flora Central School joined seven other local athletes gave Team Apayao the needed boost by contributing 18 or 5-6-7 officially counted in the medal tally.
All medalists earned a ticket to represent CAR in this year’s Palarong Pambansa slated on April 10-16 to be hosted by San Jose de Buenavista City in Antique Province.
Young chess sensation Mhage Sebastian reasserted her lofty billing at the table taking two gold (individual and team) even as school mate Jesreal Pacoy bested her competitors in artistic gymnastics and amassed four medals including one gold (floor exercise), one silver (balance beam) and two bronze medals (vault, single bar).
A strong contingent from Apayao Province parades at Baguio Athletic Bowl during the opening ceremonies of the 2017 Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association (CARAA) Meet held February 4-8 in the City of Pines. Inset photo shows some of the medalists and their coaches. (Photos courtesy of the Provincial Government of Apayao)
Sebastian compiled a total of 4.5 points after five rounds by winning four and a draw in the Swiss system tournament. She joined Luna’s bet Darlene Dannog of Tumog Elementary School for the team event. She had to draw her last game to her teammate to give way for the latter to join her in Palaro. Two other Apayao bets in girls chess captured the team bronze — Krizza Mae Failoga Biggayan of Sta. Marcela and Charil Bawayan of Conner.
Sebastian will return to the Palarong Pambansa for the third time.
She joined another shining local athlete Alyssa De San Jose in last year’s Palaro in Albay. As of this writing De San Jose, who is now studying at St. Louis University of Tuguegarao City where she is a varsity scholar, is representing the women’s volleyball team for Cagayan Province in the Cagayan Valley Regional Athletic Association (CAVRAA) being held in Ilagan, Isabela and a chance to also go back to Palaro. Apayao successfully defended the women’s volleyball crown and De San Jose was a vital cog for essentially the same team that won the gold last year.
Two students from Allig Elementary School Mark Dominic Pablo and A. Tumulak made it to the gold medal podium as they represented Apayao baseball team, which was dominated by eight players from Sta. Filomena Elem. School, Calanasan and two from Luna Central School.
Two other artistic gymnasts made their mark with Christine Jesalva of Flora National High School and Hazel Jean Cortado joining forces with Estephany Badua of MGABMSAT to win gold in the team championship.
Jesalva also won silver in vault and individual all-around while Cortado took the bronze in floor exercise.
Maria Fiona Cadoy of Sta. Maria Elem. School also won silver in women’s gymnastics Cluster 1 (single bar) and another FCS pupil Precious Lei Noreen B. Matimtim won the bronze in rhythmic gymnastics (team)
In athletics, Racquel Bang-otan won silver in javelin throw while another FCS student Jasmin Benz Arcibal took the silver in the 4X100 meters relay and Sixto Alawin of FNHS grabbed the bronze in 1500 meters run (no available records yet for distance and time of their notable accomplishments).
But Apayao’s pride of the annual regional Games was sprinter Roldan Oandasan of San Juan ES, Sta. Marcela completing a triple-gold finish in the 100m, 200m and 400m runs. He also won silver in the 4X100-m relay and bronze in the 4X400-m relay, making himself the most be-medaled athlete same as last year.
In Taekwondo, Donald Dafun of St. Joseph’s HS went away with the bronze medal in the men’s light-heavyweight class while Jessa L. Alibuyog of Malubibit Sur ES won the girl’s kyorugi Group 3 (135-143 cm).
As expected, Baguio City kept its stronghold of the overall standings with a total of 232 gold, 112 silver and 59 bronze while Benguet stayed in second with 33-78-83.
Mt. Province moved a rank higher with its 18-20-62 finish for third.
Kalinga-Tabuk City slipped from fifth last year to fourth this time with 16-37-36.
Apayao tied Kalinga for 16 gold won but the former had lesser number of silver won with 33 although it compiled more bronze (61) for a total of 110 medals compared to the latter’s total of 89.
Apayao also increased its medal haul compared to last year’s 91 and Apayao moved–up from seventh and last place last year to a fifth overall this year bringing Ifugao (10-36-72) down from third to sixth and Abra (10-19-32) from sixth to seventh.