The first of several challenge matches for qualifying candidates for next year’s Micronesian Games will begin this week.
CNMI coach Jeff Race said during an interview yesterday that with Palau South Pacific Mini Games veterans Tim Quan and Kana Aikawa on island for the next few days, it was decided to hold the first matches this week to give them an opportunity to participate. “We’ll hold them when we don’t train,” Race said. “[And] that’s on Wednesdays and Fridays. The first one is going to start tomorrow, and it’s up to the players who are playing each other to arrange the time for them to play.”
Despite the tryouts beginning this week, Race clarified that preparations for the Micro Games have begun months ago as players have been training five days a week in hopes of making the team.
“We have practice five days a week,” he said. “Some may think it’s just two days, but when you add in the regular training days, it’s five.”
Race said the training has certainly begun to show fruit after all 14 junior netters that competed in the 6th Super-Krete Guam Junior Tennis Championship returned home yesterday with medals.
Meanwhile, Quan, who won gold in the boys’ 18-and-under singles in Guam over the weekend, explained that he is looking forward to representing the CNMI again in next summer’s Games.
“I want to play again and I will be able to come,” he said.
Quan, who is enrolled at the Santa Clara University in California, said the institution has a quarterly schedule, and although Spring term will end in June, he will still be able to make the trip to Saipan for the Games.
Race also disclosed that fellow Palau South Pacific Mini Games and 2002 Micro Games veteran Amanda Weindl might not be able to compete next year due to academic commitments.
“The Micro falls at the end and at the beginning of both summer sessions for her school, and she needs to take a class in one of those sessions, so she might not be able to play,” he said, citing that Weindl will enter medical school in the fall of next year.
Race said if Weindl does not make the team, then the women’s squad will most likely comprise of Aikawa, Mayuko Arriola, and two of the three rising young starts—Vivian Lee, Audrey Motto, and Laila Mailman.