LEYTE Sports Academy-Smart raked in nine more gold medals in track and field to dominate the competition on Friday in the Visayas leg of the Philippine Olympic Committee-Philippine Sports Commission Batang Pinoy in Tacloban City.
Composed of 54 students who study, reside and train inside the Leyte Sports Development Center, the LSA-Smart track team has so far amassed 32 gold medals to shock regional powerhouse teams from Western Visayas and Cebu City in the week-long event for athletes 15 years old and younger.
Leah Joan Creer, one of the runners who lit the cauldron during the opening rites, completed her sprint sweep after winning the 200-meter dash for girls 14-15 years old with a time of 26.7 seconds. She earlier ruled the century dash in 12.7 seconds and 400m in 1:02.2.
Fourth-grader Aldrin Hermosilla topped the boys 13-under 1,500m to add to his earlier wins in the 2,000m and relay event.
Other gold medalists from LSA in athletics were Lyra Baytan in the girls 14-15 division 3,000m run, Feiza Jane Lenton in the girls 13-under 2,000m run, Richard Mercado in the boys 13-under 200m, Karen Janario in the girls 13-under 400m hurdles, Melissa Escoton in the girls 14-15 400m hurdles and Alfredo Dadivas Jr., in the boys 14-15 400m hurdles.
LSA executive director Rowil Batan said the two-year-old sports development program is currently focused on three sports — boxing, swimming and athletics.
“We are just a new academy and we are surprised at how we performed. Hopefully we also do well in the National Finals,” added Batan, whose team also sent seven of its 10 boxers in the finals at the Capitol Gym.
Bacolod and Negros Occidental posted seven victories each from the pool.
Remselle Limaco and Gwen Joy del Carmen fished three more golds each for Bacolod. Limaco captured top honors in girls 13-15 100m backstroke, 200m individual medley and 50m freestyle, while Del Carmen prevailed in the girls 12-under division 50 and 100m back, and the 50m freestyle. Kyla Isabelle Mabus picked up her fifth gold of the meet when she won the girls 13-15 100m butterfly.
Limaco, 15, is on her last stint in Batang Pinoy and is making the most out of it. The senior at Teofilo Gemsoli National High School is hoping to finally nail a win in the National Finals in Iloilo City next month after failing to win one last year in Naga City.
Merced Divina Rojo and Lorenzo Xavier Abello snared two gold medals each to power Negros Occidental. Rojo ruled the girls 12-under 100m butterfly and 200m IM, while Abello reigned in the 1,500m freestyle and 100m breaststroke for boys 13-15. Also winning for Negros Occidental were Kyla Patrice Kho in the girls 13-15 100m breaststroke, Dustin Marco Ong in the boys 11-12 400m IM and Alfred Valentin Rojo in the boys 13-15 400m IM.
Bacolod's Emy Rose Dael (girls singles) and Francis Garganian and Ann Gella Borbon (mixed doubles) captured the gold medals in table tennis, while Mandaue's Jan Mari Nayre topped the boys singles event.
Zamboanga City picked up its third gold in weightlifting as Kenneth Bumagat proved the strongest in the boys 42kg class with a 45 in snatch and 61 in the clean and jerk for a 106 total. Evangelito Dale Ceniza Jr., was second with 35-60 (95), while 11-year-old Jamil Joseph Sebastian, son of the late Southeast Asian Games champion Jaime Sebastian, was third with 35-43 (78).
Also registering wins in weightlifting were Elie Perez of Bohol in boys 50kg, Marko Llena of San Jose, Nueva Ecija in the boys above 50kg and Clark Cuico of Cebu in the boys 46kg.
Thirteen-year-old Ailyn Tumbale of Negros Occidental completed her golden double in jumping after she ruled the girls 13-under triple jump with a 10.24m leap.