Aquino strives for success: JFK's top runner eyes Olympics in 2016
September 23, 2013John F. Kennedy High School
The 17-year-old phenom has been winning races since his freshman year at John F. Kennedy High School. He currently holds the high school record for the 3,000-meter run, which he set earlier this year with a time of 9 minutes and 20 seconds at the LeoPalace Resort track. He was also the high school cross-country boys' champion and winner of numerous local 5K road races.
What the public does not know about him is that he played football in his younger days for the Tiyan Pepsi Giants.
"I played in the junior peewee league as a nose guard for two seasons," said Aquino.
Aquino said he was interested in football because of the action and the hitting.
"You will not find me on the football field today, though," the slight runner said when asked if he'd play for the JFK Islanders football team.
The high school football and cross-country seasons are played concurrently, and Aquino said he eventually grew out of the football pads.
Aquino fell in love with running in eighth grade and his passion for it continues to this day. He can be a typical high school student, having fun with his friends, but when training time approaches it's all business.
"I'm very strict and I take training very seriously, but (afterward) I like to hang out with my friends," he said.
One of his best friends is teammate Rey John Flores. Both residents of Dededo, their friendship began in sixth grade at Vicente S.A. Benavente Middle School. Through rezoning, Aquino was transferred to Astumbo Middle School in seventh and eighth grade, but they kept in touch and were reunited at JFK.
"We share roles as co-captains for the team and he keeps everyone motivated. Our main role is to lead the team in stretching out and warm-ups," said Flores.
Eladio Manansala has coached Aquino since his freshman year and chose him to be co-captain because it is his senior year and he is a good leader for the team.
Jay Leon Guerrero
For Pacific Sunday News