In 2009, track and field star Samantha Berryman was hitting the beach, shopping around Tumon and simply enjoying her time with friends and family on Guam. Three years later, she returned to Guam once more, but this time her trip out to the Pacific had a little more meaning to it.
Accompanied by her companion Mike Arnold, a highly ranked pole vaulter nationwide, they traveled back to Guam, following a visit to neighboring Saipan earlier this month to conduct a track and field clinic for the locals.
“The trip was absolutely amazing. The people are very courteous and very welcoming. Our message was to let them know they have opportunities even though they live in a secluded place like Saipan. Track and field is a way to have fun with friends and it can also get you to places. It helped me and Mike. There are so many things that can broaden one’s future,” said Berryman, who also came back from a recent trip to Bali with Arnold.
“Bali was a vacation for us. It was nice just to relax and get away and give our bodies the rest it needs,” she said with a chuckle.
Berryman was named Women’s Field Athlete of the Year for Idaho State Track and Field last spring. She also was named All-Academic for 2011 Division I in track and field by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross country Coaches Association, according to Pacific Daily News files.
“I have one more year left in indoor and outdoor seasons. I would be disappointed if I didn’t make nationals. That is my biggest goal, actually, is making nationals for indoor and outdoors. And at the moment, it seems tough because I’m not where I need to be yet, but it’s my last season so I hope I can go out and do my best,” said Berryman.
Not shying away from the question of whether she’d had the opportunity to indulge in Guam’s delicacies, she said with a smile: “I put on a couple of pounds. I’ve been eating fried rice like crazy.”
A first-time visitor to the islands, her boyfriend, Arnold, also chimed in with his thoughts on Guam and Saipan. He said the turnout at the clinic was great and hopes to do the same for the locals on Guam.
“It was an awesome and amazing experience. The opportunity to go to Saipan and put on a clinic was phenomenal. It was so nice of Saipan to ask us to come out and for us to explain what we’re doing and what we’ve been doing,” he said.
Arnold is the returning Big Sky champion in the men’s indoor and outdoor pole vault. He placed first in the men’s pole vault with a height of 5.30-meters at the Idaho State University Open earlier this year. That height ranks first in the Big Sky, twentieth in the nation and eighth on Idaho State’s list of all-time best performances, according to the Idaho State website.
“I have one more year in college and one more outdoor season. I want to win an NCAA championship and I’m starting to figure out more along the way in pole vault,” said Arnold, who also couldn’t resist mentioning how great it was to finally taste some of Guam’s best dishes.
Loved the food
“The food is amazing. I love the sushi they make here and the fried rice. It’s amazing. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience,” he proclaimed, hinting he and Berryman possibly would return to Guam in the near future.
“Obviously we want come back to Guam and help the kids and stuff like that. We want to give them some hope that there are things out there,” said Arnold.
Both of them expressed their appreciation for Guam and Saipan’s hospitality, with Berryman adding: “We want to thank the islands for being such great hosts and the people of Guam, and the Johnsons for being such great godparents.”
by: Jordan Jugo