GDOE unveils athlete-awareness program

  • Arleen Mad | The Guam Daily Post
  • Jan 21, 2020
GDOE and GNOC’s Athlete Awareness Program
L-R: GDOE Deputy Superintendent Joe Sanchez, GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez, GNOC Medical and Anti-Doping Commission members Dr. Ryan Claros, Dr. Arania Adolphson, Dr. Jordan Tingson, Dr. Julienne Duenas, Chris Fernandez, Lenora Makela, Dr. Mark Andersen, Dr. Luis Cruz, Joey Miranda III, ISA Acting Programs Coordinator Al Garrido and Guam Education Board Chairperson Mark Mendiola

The Guam Department of Education provided a glimpse into its future plans for the development of interscholastic sports during a four-hour session Saturday that involved more than 120 coaches and athletes from the middle and high-school levels.

In partnership with the Guam National Olympic Committee, GDOE rolled out a series of classes aimed at embracing the whole athlete and helping coaches develop an understanding of a balanced student-athlete.

Saturday’s session was the first, reiterated the presenters in every session, adding they expected the learning to be part of a year-round effort as GNOC and GDOE continue to collaborate.

“The presentation was a preview of the program we will be working with our student athletes in-school,” said GNOC sport development and compliance officer Joey Miranda III. “Our intention is to deliver the program to all students in the middle and high schools competing in the ISA programs.”

There were a total of 10 presenters. Dr. Arania Adolphson and Dr. Mark Anderson covered concussion protocol and awareness. Dr. Chris Fernandez and Dr. Ryan Claros presented on Youth Development and Load Management for the adolescent. Dr. Jordan Tingson and Dr. Julienne Duenas hit a hot topic for the island – Prevention of ACL Injury. Lenora Makela and Rosae Calvo offered valuable information on hydration and nutrition during competition and training. The student component, which focused on the anti-doping message and the Olympic Values program, was covered by Dr. Luis Cruz and Miranda.

“The main goal of the program is to develop a better understanding for our student athletes and their entourage of how to effectively prepare themselves for competition on and off the field of play and to make the choices that are beneficial to them,” Miranda said.

“I hope the attendees left with a stronger understanding of the importance of athlete health in sport and strategies to optimize their health and performance,” said Tingson, who conducted the ACL injury prevention component of the program. 

The road to GDOE’s inaugural Interscholastic Sports Association was anything but easy. But, GDOE has stood firm in its commitment to its athletes despite the controversy. Saturday’s sessions were lively as athletes and coaches moved from seminar to seminar. Break sessions offered coaches the opportunity to network and share information.

Astumbo Middle School soccer coach Nap Finch said he was initially wary about spending Saturday at GDOE when there were so many other things he needed to do.

“I didn’t want to go, and I was trying to get out of it,” he said, laughing. “But, I liked it … The ACL one, for me, was really the most informational.”

The pace of the sessions and the presenters did a good job sharing information that was useful for coaches, he said.

“It was really good,” he said, adding he would attend future presentations if they prove as useful as the first one did.

Astumbo eighth graders Candance Mansapit and Sophia Gonzalez said they enjoyed the day.

“My favorite part of the program was the second session I went to,” said Gonzalez, referencing the nutrition and hydration component. “It was interesting … I learned a lot from when to hydrate to concussions.”

Fellow Dragon Manasapit agreed with her soccer teammate.

“(It was) an eye opener for me to watch and be careful of the food I intake,” said Mansapit. “I learned a lot of new things that I had no knowledge of … it’s a great opportunity to pass along to my teammates.”

Both agreed that more athletes should participate in the program, adding athletes need to be more aware of their training and nutritional needs if they want to continue competing.

According to GDOE acting sports coordinator Al Garrido, raising awareness was a key objective for the program.

“Sometimes, coaches get caught up in the wins and losses that they forget they are completely responsible for the care of their athletes,” he said.

Garrido said it’s important that coaches recognize their student-athletes as “human beings.”

“What they learned at the presentation was that there is more to putting together a practice plan,” he said. “Coaches should consider the overall welfare of the athlete.”

Moving forward, Garrido said, GDOE will ensure they extend the education from the classroom into the playing field to enhance the experience for all.

“The superintendent understands that interscholastic sports is just a tool toward a bigger picture,” he said. “We are educators first and foremost … we are very fortunate that we have GNOC helping us achieve those goals.”

GNOC Provides support to Interscholastic Sports Association

Friday, January 3, 2019 – GDOE Headquarters, Tiyan, Guam

20200103_141354The Guam National Olympic Committee (GNOC) will be providing program support to the Interscholastic Sports Association (ISA) this spring. On Friday, January 3, 2020, GNOC President Ricardo C. Blas signed a Memorandum of Understanding outlining this support with Guam Department of Education (GDOE) Superintendent Jon Fernandez and Interscholastic Sports Association Acting Program Coordinator Al Garrido.

The collaboration between GNOC and ISA is set to launch in mid-January, when the GNOC Medical and Anti-Doping Commission will facilitate an athlete awareness program entitled “Developing a healthy understanding of a balanced student-athlete’s lifestyle” to middle and high school coaches, athletic directors and administrators participating in ISA third and fourth quarter sports. The training will cover subject matters including concussions, ACL injury prevention, youth athletic development, load management, hydration, nutrition, first aid and anti-doping. The training program is provided by GNOC through the Olympic Solidarity’s Protection of Clean Athletes Grant, and will take place on January 18, 2020 at the GDOE Tiyan headquarters from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

20200103_140002Following this training, the GNOC will work with ISA to schedule similar in-class presentations with high school student athletes participating in sports throughout the remainder of School Year (SY) 2019-2020. Middle school presentations will also be scheduled to take place in SY 2020-2021. Meanwhile, the GNOC will provide training to coaches in February through the Oceania Sport Education Program Development Coach Curriculum. In September, the GNOC will also provide coaches with training on strength and conditioning development.

“Through this partnership, the GDOE hopes to provide an athlete-centered sports curriculum that will teach students to be more aware of their health needs, reduce the chances for injury, and that will ultimately assist students with their growth, both in sports and in life,” Garrido said.

Men’s Basketball and Judo highlight top Team Guam performances in 2019 Pacific Games

21 July 2019 – XVI Pacific Games, Apia, Samoa

Men’s 5×5 Basketball team defended their gold medal from the 2015 edition of the Pacific Games with a dominant performance on their way to being named the Team of the Games.  The team consisting of William Belger III, Eduardo Calvo, JP Cruz, Jonathan Galloway, Daren Hechanova, Earvin Jose, Simon Gabriel, William Stinnett III, Mekeli Wesley, Russel Wesley and Tai Wesley drove past their opponents in the round robin matches before defeating Tahiti in the championship game for the Gold medal. 

Men’s Basketball 3×3 staged the biggest comeback of the inaugural event via a two-point conversion in extra time by Ben Borja.  Trailing by five points with three minutes remaining against Team Fiji, who beat Team Guam in the round robin match, Borja along with team mates Seve Susuico, Michael Sakazaki and Andrew “AJ” Carlos, were able to keep the Fijians at bay and tied the game at 18 after regulation play.  The tough defense of Team Guam continued in the early minutes of extra time as Fiji was unable to score on consecutive attempts.  After a rebound by Susuico, Borja took the ball behind the screen of Sakazaki and drained the two-point attempt to seal the victory and the first-ever gold medal of the 3×3 event in the Pacific Games.

Joshter Andrew, Team Guam Judoka, brought Guam’s first gold medal of the Games as he overwhelmed all his opponents in the <81kg division.  Andrew showcased his athleticism, knowledge and prowess gained through his training in Japan.

Team Guam Taekwondo delivered three silver and two bronze medals as Alexander Allen, Tierra Chargualaf and Amber Toves beat their New Zealand counterparts in the semi-final rounds, but eventually fell to their Australian opponents in the finals.  Leon Ho and Joseph Ho completed the medal haul that featured all Team Guam competitors on the medal podium.  The siblings bowed out to their Australian opponents in the quarterfinal round.

Team Guam Weightlifting doubled their total medal outputs from the previous combined games into the 2019 edition.  Led by Jacinta Sumagaysay’s triple silver haul, (clean and jerk, snatch and combined total), the team brought home a total of seven medals:  5 silver and 2 bronze.  Dayamaya Calma clinched 2 silver (clean and jerk and combined total) and a bronze (snatch), while sister Dayalani Calma claimed Guam’s first medal of the games, a bronze in the snatch.

Athletics added a silver and two bronze medals to the medal count for Team Guam as Genina Criss used the wading stretch to outpace the remaining athletes and take silver in the 1500m race.  Alison Bowman took third in the 3000m steeplechase for a bronze and Derek Mandell returned to competition with a bronze medal in the half marathon to end the athletics events.  During the women’s 4x100m race, the team consisting of Regine Tugade, Richelle Tugade, Madison Packbier and Emma Sheedy broke the Guam national record set 20 years ago.

Benjamin Schulte of Team Guam Swimming settled for a silver medal in the 50m butterfly discipline that saved the swimming group’s medal streak in the Pacific Games.

Women’s Basketball missed out on a bronze medal as they fell victim to host Samoa and questionable calls in the final minutes of the match that saw our ladies lose by a bucket.  This was the best performance of the women’s program in the last twenty years as they opened with a 36-point win against a team that they have never beaten in the past, Papua New Guinea. 

Men’s Va’a team finished fourth place in the 1500m Outrigger Canoe contest, an event they previously won bronze in Papua New Guinea.  Overall both paddling teams performed well against the more experienced and established teams from Tahiti, New Caledonia and the south pacific.

Men’s Beach Volleyball went 1-1 in pool play before bowing out of the competition against Papua New Guinea in straight sets in the elimination round finishing in 9th of 13.

Team Guam Tennis finished in the middle of the pack in the team event with a 2-2 record.  Camden Camacho led the charge in the singles event finishing in 6th place followed by Daniel Llarenas, Derek Okuhama and Mason Caldwell.

Team Guam Golf had a good showing on the links against the prowess of Fiji, Tahiti and New Caledonia.  Robert Manalo led the team in the singles event.

Team Guam aquathlon athlete Kristina Woesner finished 8th of 14 while triathlete Craig Weymouth finished the swim, bike, run course in 11th of 18.

Men and Women’s Volleyball served identical 2-3 records during the event.  Men’s team finished in 9th place while the women’s settled for 6th in their respective divisions.

The final tally of 3 gold, 10 silver and 6 bronze placed Guam in 14th of 24 countries/jurisdiction of the 2019 Pacific Games.

Team Guam bounces back; weightlifters haul 7 medals on day 2

Women Weightlifters highlighted day 2 activities for Team Guam as Dayalani Calma snagged Guam’s first medal, a bronze in the 45kg Clean and Jerk. Her sister, Dayanara then took silver in the snatch, bronze in the clean and jerk and silver in the combined lift. Mini Games silver medalist Jacinta Sumagaysay then brought a silver from each discipline to close out the day.

Basketball triumphant in Day 1

Women’s Basketball team dominated their first game against the team they fell to in the previous games. Team Guam took an early 26-16 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. They held PNG to just 4 points in the second quarter to build the lead to 54-20 and cruised to an 84-48 victory.

The defending men’s Basketball team outclassed the host Samoa as they too led from start to finish. Tai Wesley and Daren Hechanova led the team scoring with 18 points apiece. JP Cruz dropped 16, Mekeli Wesley scored 11 and Willie Stinnett III added 10 points for a 105-81 margin.

Beach Volleyball beats New Caledonia

In Beach Volleyball action, Brian Tsujii and Zakhary Zacarias upended New Caledonia in straight sets 21-19, 21-19 to even up their record at one a piece. A slow start saw the duo down by as many as six points until they began creeping their way in the late stages of the first set eventually tying the game at 18. From there they were able to close out the set on a mishandled serve by Zacarias.

In the second set, Guam’s duo raced to an eight-point lead on the heals of strong plays by Tsujii at the net and great digs by Zacarias. However, New Caledonia came racing back to take the lead at 17-16 and 19-17 before Zacarias served out the set as Tsujii slipped past a block to end the match 21-19.

In other Team Guam action, Va’a V1 pitted Isabel Gutierrez in the female 500m race as she finished in 8th place. Shane Palomo competed in the men’s 500m race coming in 7th place overall. Both events where held at the Sheraton Samoa Apia Wharf.

Team Guam’s tennis players bowed to Papua New Guinea on their first day of team action. Guam Second seed Derek Okuhama dropped a doozy 7-5, 6-4 while top seed Daniel Llarenas fell 6-2, 6-2. In doubles competition, Llarenas and Camden Camacho got off to a quick start leading 5-0 before closing out the first set 6-3. However, PNG was able to pull off the second set 6-3 and the rubber set 10-5.

Team Guam swimmers Benjamin Schulte, Mineri Gomez and Mark Imazu took to the pool this morning for their competition. Schulte finished the 200m breaststroke in 5th place. Gomez also finished in 5th place in the 800m freestyle while Mark Imazu racced in the 100-back stroke.





Rough start for Team Guam


Monday, July 8, 2019 – XVI Pacific Games, Apia, Samoa

Team Guam athletes bore strong winds and rain during the first day of competition at the XVI Pacific Games in Apia, Samoa. The elements forced the postponement of our Tennis team’s first match while creating challenging conditions for others.

20190708_094541Guam swimmers Mineri Gomez and Mark Imazu braved the 2.5 km Open Water Swim through rough current, rain and wind gust to start off Guam’s campaign in the Games held at the Sheraton Beach Resort, Mulifanua. Gomez finished the women’s division in 5th place while 15-year-old Imazu took in 7th in the men’s division.

20190708_121717.jpgAn hour driver away at Apia Waterfront, the beach volleyball duo of Brian Tsujii and Zakhary Zacarias fell in straight sets to Tonga 21-16 and 21-6. The Tongans took early leads in both sets, dominating net play. In the first set, Guam was able to tie the match at six before Tonga found their groove and pushed ahead for the set 1 win which spilled into the second set for the match.

Action continues on Day 2 with Women’s Basketball, Tennis, Beach Volleyball, Men and Women’s Va’a, Weightlifting, Swimming and Men’s Basketball defending their 2015 gold.