Pacific athletes of the week
Manuel DuranTrack and field
Kadena High School, Okinawa
Last week: Broke his own long-jump record and anchored the Panthers’ relay teams to two record-breaking runs as Kadena won its fourth straight boys title in the 5th Alva W. “Mike” Petty Memorial Track and Field Meet.
Duran, a senior, leaped 21 feet, 13/4 inches on Friday, topping his own Petty record set last year by 113/4 inches. On Saturday, he ran the fourth leg as the Panthers won the 400 relay in 45.28 seconds, 0.56 better than last year’s record run, and the 1,600 relay in 3:40.62, nearly two seconds faster than Kadena’s 3:42.6 set in 2004.
Coach Sergio Mendoza said of Duran: “We knew this was the meet when he had to step up, when we needed leadership” in the absence of two other top performers. “He gave us that leadership. He’s a great model for the rest of the team.”
LaKesa McClainTrack and field
Kubasaki High School, Okinawa
Last week: Shattered the two-year-old meet record in the discus throw and earned a silver medal in the shot put, lifting the Dragons to their third team title in four years at the Petty meet.
McClain, a freshman who transferred from San Diego last year, threw the discus 115 feet, 7 inches, topping the meet mark of 99-5 set in 2005. In meters, her throw measured to 35.03, breaking the Japan area record of 34.41 set in Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools competition in 1995.
“It’s always exciting when you have a freshman performing at such a high level,” Kubasaki assistant coach Paul Campbell said. “We knew she was going to be doing good things this year. She will be a real asset to the team. She already is a real asset to the team.”
— Selected by Stars and Stripes staff