10 vie for ’22 student athlete plums

Posted on Feb 08 2023

Five students are vying for the Tan Siu Lin Foundation/Northern Marianas Sports Association Male Student Athlete of the Year award, while the female student category also has five nominees.

Multi-sport athlete Isaiah Aleksenko, who won the 2021 award, is back as a nominee, joining basketball’s Derek Tenorio and Lance Lerio, swimming’s Juhn Tenorio, and athletics’ Michael Miller. All nominees won the student athlete of the month award in 2022 to qualify for the yearly recognition. In the female student category, the nominees are Kaithlyn Chavez (triathlon and athletics), Maria Batallones (swimming), Destiny Pangelinan and Azriel Fatialofa (basketball), and Zhimin Jin (golf).

Winners of the Male and Female Student Athlete of the Year awards will be announced at the NMSA Banquet scheduled for March 7 at the Hibiscus Hall of Crowne Plaza Resort Saipan.

Aleksenko was the January top performer after dominating the 7th Saipan Aquathlon. Then in December, the 16-year-old Marianas High School student was recognized again for representing the NMI to the 16th FINA World Championships (25m) in Melbourne, Australia and setting four NMI swim records. Juhn Tenorio, another NMI swimmer, earlier competed in the 19th FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary and established two new NMI swim marks to earn the Athlete of the Month award in June.

Derek Tenorio, the youngest nominee at 10, was the April winner for helping Koblerville Elementary School-1 rule the IT&E Interscholastic Co-ed Elementary Basketball League. Another basketball player, Lance Lerio, earned a chance to vie for the Male Student Athlete of the Year award, for taking the November honors. Lerio was the top scorer for the NMI Junior National Team that participated in the FIBA U15 Oceania Championships in Guam.

Miller completed the nominees list, making it to the honor roll for winning the October award. The Grace Christian Academy student ruled the middle school division of the qualifying legs of the Northern Marianas Athletics/PSS All Schools Cross Country and capped his dominance in the season with a gold medal in the finale.

Chavez also participated in the interscholastic cross countries series and clinched the gold medal in the girls high school 5K race to take NMSA’s May honors. The Saipan International School student earlier bagged the January award for notching back-to-back titles in the 7th Saipan Aquathlon.

Pangelinan joined Chavez on the nominees list for winning the April honors. The Marianas High School student anchored the NMI Women’s National Team’s offense when they played in a series of matches in the NMI Friendship Classic at the University of Guam Fieldhouse. Back at UOG in November, Fatialofa averaged a double-double (20. 5 points and 18 rebounds) in the four games she played during the FIBA U15 Oceania Championships to gain the vote for the NMSA top student for the month.

In Melbourne at the 16th FINA World Championships, Batallones posted two NMI swim records and her efforts were not left unnoticed as she received the NMSA student award for December.

Capping the monthly awardees list and nominees for the Female Student Athlete of the Year award is Jin. The junior golfer gave Team NMI it’s lone gold medal in the golf competition in the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Game held in June after ruling the women’s four-round individual event.
The Marianas High School student was also named Best Junior Female Athlete of the Mini Games. (PR)

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