AIRA Mae Gacusan secured her second gold in the UAAP Season 86 Athletics championships, setting a new league record, as her school, University of Santo Tomas, edged closer to clinching a back-to-back girls’ division title at the end of Day 4 of the UAAP Season 86 Athletics championships on Saturday at the PhilSports Track Oval in Pasig City.
The 17-year-old upstart from Oranbo Elementary School claimed the gold in the 5000-meter walk with a new record of 30:25.61, erasing the previous one set by UE’s Kristine Garcia at 31:10.13 during the Season 81 meet. Cindy Puerto, also from UST, followed Gacusan with a time of 30:53.60, surpassing Garcia’s mark as well.
Mary Rose Manongsong secured the bronze for University of the East in the same event at 31:17.22.
The Junior Female Tracksters, however, left nothing to chance and completed a gold-medal sweep of all four events at stake on the day, taking a substantial 403 points to 346 advantage against the Junior Lady Warriors.
Miravalles, the standout from Manggahan Elementary School, claimed the inaugural heptathlon title with 3,163 points, boosted by her 4.73-meter leap in the long jump. Niegas took the silver with 2,974 points, while Jeanne De Costa of UE secured the bronze with 2,949.
Niegas then claimed the gold in the long jump ahead of Saligan with a height of 4.82 meters against the latter’s 4.78. Elizabeth Sicat of Adamson University joined the two Thomasians on the podium with a jump of 4.74 meters.
Saligan then took the top spot on the podium with the 400-meter hurdles title in 1:06.19, overcoming strong challenges from Junior Lady Warriors Janice Nemi and Elaiza Salomon, who finished with times of 1:07.82 and 1:09.26, respectively.
On the other hand, Hussein Loraña added two more golds to his collection, virtually securing the Adamson Baby Falcons’ second straight championship.
Loraña, who previously won the 800- and 400-meter golds, added the 1500 meters and the 5000 meters on the same day, boosting his chances for both the Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards.
The Apolinario Mabini Elementary School product edged out National University Nazareth School’s Teo Lou Papel with a time of 4:15.04, ahead of the latter’s 4:15.81. UST’s Almie Aiso crossed the line in third with a time of 4:18.26.
Loraña then faced both Aiso and Papel in the 5000 meters just over an hour later, emerging victorious once more with a time of 16:45.97. Aiso claimed the silver with 16:53.43, while Adamson’s Francis Japa supported Loraña with 17:02.18 for bronze. Papel finished fifth in the race with a time of 17:39.08.
Jhon Michael Manaloto added another gold for the Baby Falcons with a 58.09-second victory over UST’s Sean Narag, who finished in 58.50, in the 400-meter hurdles. Harvey Villasan, also of UST, rounded up the top three with a time of 59.29 seconds.
Coached by none other than the father and coach of the current world No. 2 pole vaulter EJ Obiena, Emerson Obiena, Mejen Sumbongan became the first UAAP student-athlete in the boys’ division to clear the four-meter bar in the pole vault, taking the gold with a new standard of 4.05 meters.
Narag, likewise, surpassed the previous mark of former UST standout Johnrey Magallanes at 3.89 meters, with a best leap of 3.95 for the silver medal. Francis Sillar then made it a podium sweep for the Junior Male Tracksters with a 3.15-meter clearance.
Rafael Ballelos secured the hammer throw title earlier in the day with a heave of 41.75 meters, ahead of Baby Falcon Ren-Ren Coraza and Ateneo Blue Eagle Jose Andro Costelo, who recorded distances of 38.10 and 34.86 meters, respectively.
The reigning champions UST and Adamson will look to formalize their back-to-back titles in the girls’ and boys’ divisions, respectively, as the championships conclude on Sunday, beginning at 1 p.m.