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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Thea, Clay named November’s best

McCullough-Steams & Minor (PHOTOS By ROSELYN B. MONROYO) Saipan Southern High School’s Thea Minor and Saipan International School’s Clay McCullough-Stearns won the NMASA/Tan Siu Lin Foundation Student Athletes of the Month awards for November.

Minor was cited for her title runs in last month’s 5th Tan Holdings Tennis Classic, while McCullough-Stearns earned the monthly plum for helping SIS rule the varsity division of the 2013-2014 MISO Boys Volleyball League.

The 17-year-old Minor won four division championships in the annual tennis tournament. She first clinched the girls U18 tiara after beating Mikayla Lopez in the finals and then teamed up with Christian Miller in downing Lopez and Negaht Rastguiy in the U18 doubles title game. Both championship matches were played in the opening week of the Tan Holdings Tennis Classic.

Minor went on to return for the second and final week of the competition and bagged her third title after prevailing against Lopez, anew in the women’s open singles finale. In the mixed open doubles, the Saipan Southern student partnered with coach Luke Beling and the duo topped the round-robin tournament at the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan after winning over Michella Phan and Au-Yeung and Carol Lee and Lauro Lim.

Over at the Marianas High School Gymnasium, McCullough-Stearns and his Geckos extended their reign in the MISO league after defeating perennial rival Grace Christian Academy in the finals. McCullough-Stearns’ strong spikes were too much to handle for the Eagles, as SIS escaped with a 27-25, 25-22 victory right in Game 1 of the finals. Earlier in the semis, McCullough-Stearns towed SIS to a 32-20, 22-25, 15-8 victory to earn a twice-to-beat advantage in the finals and also lifted the Geckos to an impressive 11-1 record in the regular season to take the pennant.

With McCullough-Stearns and Minor getting the November honors, they are now qualified for the coveted 2013 NMASA/TSL Foundation Student Athletes of the Year plum, which will be handed out in February next year.

Northern Marianas Amateur Sports Association will have to wait for the December awardees before finalizing the candidates for the annual award. All monthly winners are eligible for the prestigious plum, but NMASA-member federation can also nominate athletes who did not make it to the winners list this season.

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