Genina Criss mapped out her game plan and carried through a downpour at the Korman Stadium closing Team Guam’s competition at the X Pacific Mini Games with a bronze medal. The hardware brings Team Guam’s tally to one silver and a bronze from the two weeks competition which included a total of nine athletes competing in four disciplines including Weightlifting, Judo, Beach Volleyball and Athletics.
Criss ran the 1500-meter women’s race setting a personal best of 4:58.63 seconds eclipsing her previous best by 25 seconds. Criss began the race trailing the pack as she paced herself through the first 200 meters. She began to inch her way to the middle of the pack after the first lap. Midway through the course, she found herself right behind the leader Poro Gahekave of Papua New Guinea. Criss held on to second place until the final 50 meters when Jenny Albert of Papua New Guinea surged to the finish line, 86/100th of a second ahead of Criss to claim the silver medal. Gahekave of Papua New Guinea finished in first with a time of 4:55.77 for the gold.
Criss ran the race of her young career on the wet track as the rain did not let up throughout the day. “This was my strategy, but I didn’t think I would be right in the thick of the race, and to be comfortably ahead of fourth was what helped me push through. My team mates kept pushing me through the last 50 meters of the race and I am so grateful to them.” said a jubilant Criss. Criss becomes only the second female runner to hit sub 5 minutes performance for Guam.
Criss was awarded the bronze during the medal presentation on the Korman Stadium field. Criss thanked her family, support team, coaches, Guam Track and Field Association and the Guam National Olympic Committee. She was also gracious for the support Guam High provided in allowing them to use their facilities to train. Cruz’ race wrapped up Team Guam’s events with only the closing ceremony remaining. Cruz and the athletes of GTFA all vowed to get ready for the 2018 Micronesian Games, Yap in July.