Dethroning a champ-A A +A
Saturday, September 22, 2012
THE University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) track and field athletes were going against players who were geared in P8,000-spike shoes and with a long history of dominance in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) athletics competition.
USPF competed with shoes they scavenged in ukay-ukay stalls and trained by themselves—without a coach.
The odds may be stacked against them, but the track and field athletes of USPF took everything in stride and went on to not only smother the competition but ended the 12-year winning streak of the University of Cebu in the Cesafi athletics event yesterday at the Cebu City Sports Center oval.
UC, an athletics powerhouse of Cebu, crumbled and could only come up with a third place finish in the college division next to Southwestern University, which came in second.
USPF surprised everyone after winning 21 gold medals. SWU had 16, while UC could only salvage six.
Their victory, according to team captain Khenly Parcon, is credited to the determination that each member of the team has.
“Bisan ug naa pay coach, kung wala sa interest sa athlete nga mudaog, dili gyud siya mudaog. Naa rana sa athlete tanan. Pero nakita nako nga kami tanan grabe ug paninguha. That is why we are beyond happy that we won the overall title,” said Parcon.
Parcon and top women’s division sprinter Lorna Olarita lifted the team after not only winning three gold medals each but also new records.
Olarita, who is a graduating BS Information Techonology student, said she feels a sense of pride knowing that she will be leaving the school a legacy.
“To have given the school something we can all be proud of, is a huge accomplishment for us,” said Olarita, who is tipped to join the national training pool and who will represent the country in the Thailand Track and Field Open in November.
Parcon won the men’s 100meter and 200m run and set a new record in the 400-meter run. Olarita clocked in new records in the 100m, 200m and 400m in the women’s division.
Winning two gold medals each for USPF were Joeyry Lee (3,000m and 5,000m) and Aiza Suaybaguio (800m and 1,500m).
Parcon, a fourth year Chemical Engineering student said that while having a coach is also important, their debacle was beyond their control as it was an internal issue with the school. So the team gathered and decided to prove that they can do it on their own.
“I train whenever I have free time. And with this kind of set up, I realized that if you want to be better in your sport, no matter how small amount of time you train, as long as you give it your best, then you will get better,” said Parcon.
Olarita said she is comforted by the fact that they have each other’s back and because of the setback of not having a coach, former athletes also came out to give their inputs during training. “Having a coach is always an advantage because someone will tell you that what you are doing is right or wrong. But we look after each other and former varsities also help us out,” said Olarita, referring to Timoteo Margaja, a former trackster, who goes to training sessions after his work to help out the team.
UC athletic director Bernard Ricablanca said their loss is because a lot of athletes have already graduated and they were left with freshmen. “We can bounce back from this. We will continue with our rigid training program. Try nasad ta sa sunod Cesafi,” said Ricablanca.
Meanwhile, pulling off an impressive finish in the secondary division was Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu’s Celina Mae Revalde, who set new records in the 100m, 200m and 400m runs.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 23, 2012.