Nov 20, 2023

Lagatao opens Team Guam’s Pacific Games stint winning three gold medals; Tennis clinches their first ever finals appearance

Monday, November 20, 2023 – 17th Pacific Games, Honiara, Solomon Islands

It didn't take long for Team Guam to break into the medal podium of the 17th Pacific Games.  The delegation of 110 athletes and officials competing in eight sports was led by weightlifting 's Nicola Lagatao who won three gold medals the day after the opening ceremony at the Maranatha Hall.

Lagatao, the defending 2022 Pacific Mini Games gold medalist, snatched 59kg, Clean and Jerk 73kg, and took top honors with a combined total of 132kg for the three-gold medal sweep in the 45kg women's division.  Chef de Mission James Borja was ecstatic upon receiving the news, saying "She was quite impressive considering the issues they ran into when the canceled flight from Manila delayed their arrival and training in Honiara. This is a great start for Team Guam, and we are hoping to continue the momentum."

Erika Camacho and Vinci Ebidag completed their Pacific Games debut in the women’s 49kg and men’s 54kg divisions.  Camacho and Ebidag finished in 4thplace in each of their respective disciplines, snatch, clean and jerk, and combined scores.  

Guam Men’s tennis team advanced to their first ever finals appearance at the National Stadium tennis courts.  Guam won both its singles event matches against Papua New Guinea as Danny Llarenas won convincingly against Mark Gibbons 4-2,4-1.  In an exciting second singles qualifying match-up, Camden Camacho came back from a 2-4 first set deficit in the blistering heat, to upset the top seeded player from PNG Matthew Stubbing winning the second set 4-2 and taking the tie breaker match to an extended finish 4-4(5-3).  With the upset, Team Guam advanced to the semi-final match against Fiji.

Roles were reversed in the semi-final match as Llarenes was unable to break his Fijian counterpart in the first set, falling 3-6.  The tide began to turn around against Charles Cornish in the second set.  After being down 2-3, Llarenes was finally able to find his groove.  Aces were being served and volleys were dropping in his favor as he eked out a 6-4 second set win in the hotly contested match up. The third set went all Llarenas way, after breaking Cornish service with the set at 3-4, Llarenas took the last two sets to inch closer to the team gold medal match.

In the second singles of the semi-finals, it was all love for Camden Camacho blitzing Raynal Ray Singh 6-0, 6-0 to etch Team Guam’s first ever finals appearance into the books.  Team Guam faces Tahiti in the men’s team event finals at 11:00 a.m. Solomon Islands time.

Guam swimmers competed on day 1 at the National Aquatics center.  Amaya Bollinger qualified for the finals in the women’s 100m Butterfly finishing 7th in the finals.  Jaden Francis also qualified for the men’s100m Butterfly finale where he too finished in 7th place.  Team Guam’s Francis, James Hendrix, Israel Poppe, and Ryan Tangi finished 6th in the men’s 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay.

Team Guam Women’s Basketball took to the hardcourt for their third game since stepping down from the tarmac three days ago against the Host Solomon Islands.  In their final preliminary game, Guam defeated 56-44 to improve their pool play standing to1-2 and advance to the qualifying finals. Team Guam will take on undefeated Cook Island on Wednesday, November 23,2023, at 7:30 p.m.  Solomon Islands time. The men’s team returns to action on Tuesday, November 22, 2023, at 8:15 p.m. Against host Solomon Islands after a much-needed rest day.