Pacific athletes of the week
Beth NielsenCross country
Kubasaki High School, Okinawa
Last week: Became the first non-Kadena runner to win an Okinawa Activities Council cross-country race in four years. The senior ran the 3.1-mile trail course at Camp Hansen in 21 minutes, 33 seconds. Nielsen finished 16 seconds faster than her closest challenger, Julie Monti of Lester Middle School, and :21 faster than reigning Far East champion Niki Kauzlarich of Kadena.
Nielsen, the island’s reigning 3,200-meter champion, ran 4 seconds slower than her 21:29 showing in last year’s Far East meet, in which she placed fifth behind Kauzlarich (20:45).
“Beth is an amazing runner,” said her coach, Paul Campbell, calling her a “model of good sportsmanship. The further the distance, the better she does. Her pace is unrelenting, and it’s even a goal of a few of the other team members just to keep up with her. She is amazing in so many respects.”
Chris TobiereCross country
Robert D. Edgren, Japan
Last week: Ran the 3.1-mile road course Saturday at Sasebo Naval Base, Japan, in 17 minutes, 35 seconds, the best time posted by a Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Pacific boys runner this season.
Coach Andre Thibert calls Tobiere an important piece of a rebuilding team that lost boys team anchor runners Daniel Sanchez and Paul Tysinger to transfer. Tobiere’s time is just 4 seconds behind the winning time posted by Jon Turner of Kadena in last November’s Far East meet at Misawa Air Base, Japan. Tobiere and the Eagles host that meet next month.
“Chris has an excellent work ethic,” Thibert said of the honors student. “Due to that work ethic, he has continued to improve since the beginning of the season. Chris is well-liked and looked up to by his peers. I am really enjoying coaching Chris this season.”
— Selected by Stars and Stripes staff