Baseball's Tony Rogolifoi and Rose Igitol are nominated for the top officials honors in the 4th annual Pacific Sports Awards.
Rogolifoi is Northern Marianas Amateur Sports Association's nominee for the Outstanding Coach of the Year plum, while his better half is nominated for the Outstanding Sports Administrator of the Year award. The husband and wife tandem earned nominations for the prestigious awards for their roles in the CNMI's successful campaign in the 2011 Pacific Games in New Caledonia.
Rogolifoi coached the Commonwealth sluggers, who beat rival Guam, 8-4, in the gold medal game in the Pacific Games last year. He steered the short-handed CNMI crew to a 3-2 record in the elimination round and after his squad almost missed the playoffs, Rogolifoi helped the Commonwealth bets sweep their last three games to win their first gold medal in the Games' baseball competition. Rogolifoi and company defeated host New Caledonia in the first round of the playoffs and Palau in the semis before downing Guam in the finale.
Besides his successful coaching chores in the Pacific Games, Rogolifoi also mentored local teams in both baseball and Little League.
Igitol was the steady force behind the CNMI team's fundraising efforts for the Pacific Games trip. She was with the team from Day 1 of the preparation for the New Caledonia competition and pulled all the strings to make the CNMI's participation to the quadrennial tournament possible.
Igitol also helped organized local tournaments and was elected to the Executive Committee of the Basketball Confederation of Oceania last year, making her the first female to join the prestigious group.
Team of the Year nominee
NMASA is also nominating a team in the Pacific Sports Award for the first time and the hands-down choice is the CNMI Baseball Team.
The Pacific Games champion were composed of ace pitcher Joshua Jones, Ian Rogolifoi, Juan Maratita, Eric Tenorio, Ian Rogolifoi, Keoni Lizama, Mike Iguel, Vince Cepeda, Elton Santos, Jesus Iguel, Tyrone Omar, Franco Flores, Thomas Joab, Jerome Delos Santos, Byron Kaipat, Manny Sablan, and Craig Sanchez.
The Commonwealth sluggers managed to reign supreme in the Pacific Games despite having second thoughts in traveling to New Caledonia due to funding problems.
The CNMI started its campaign in the Pacific Games with a 1-0 win over dethroned champion Palau before dropping its next two games against Guam, 5-6, and New Caledonia, 2-3. The Commonwealth bets then won over American Samoa and Fiji to save a playoffs spot. In the playoffs, the CNMI had to play two games in one day and won over New Caledonia, 11-5, and against Palau, 8-0, to set a final duel versus Guam.
The CNMI went on to make it two in a row against its neighbor after nailing an 8-4 triumph. The Commonwealth also defeated Guam in the 2006 Micronesian Games, 3-2.
Meanwhile, winners in the Pacific Sports Awards will be announced this October at the Pacific Games Council's general membership meeting in Wallis and Futuna. The Pacific Sports Awards is Pacific Games Council's annual recognition ceremony for athletes, teams, and officials from the 22 member-Pacific Games Associations.