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Julie MontiCross country

Kubasaki, Okinawa

Last week: Became the first female runner in the Pacific this season to break the 20-minute barrier, winning the Okinawa Activities Council’s district championship meet and taking first place for the sixth time in seven races this season.

Monti, a freshman, ran the 3.1-mile Kishaba Family Housing Area course on Camp Foster in 19 minutes, 38 seconds — 13 seconds ahead of Michelle Castillo of Kadena, who also surpassed the 20-minute mark. The region’s next-best time is 20:23, run by Jade Thrasher of Robert D. Edgren last Saturday at Iwakuni, Japan.

Monti “is pushing herself harder,” said coach Paul Campbelli, adding that Monti has shed the knee brace she wore earlier this season and has changed her diet to spur her to even greater efforts. “She feels that it’s freed her to push even harder. She’s really excited to break her own records.”

Brant CasteelCross country

Kadena, Okinawa

Last week: Captured first place in the Okinawa Activities Council’s district championship race. He paced the Panthers to the team title and recorded the best time among boys in the Pacific region this season Thursday on the 3.1-mile course at Kishaba Family Housing Area, Camp Foster, Okinawa.

Casteel, a sophomore, was timed in 16 minutes, 29 seconds, beating the top time in the Pacific recorded five days earlier by Kazuki Guzman of Seoul Foreign in the Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference district meet at Uijongbu. Casteel won three of the seven OAC races this season, entering the Far East meet next week at Okinawa’s Camp Hansen.

“He’s very energetic,” Kadena coach Tom McKinney said of Casteel. “He has his goals set on what he wants to do and where he wants to be. He’s showing he can run. He listens, does what he’s supposed to do and now he has one more goal.”

— Selected by Stars and Stripes staff

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