National coach Jeff Race is in Cloud 9 once more after most of the CNMI’s contingent to the 2022 North Pacific Regional Championships in Guam punched their tickets to the 2022 Pacific Oceania Junior Championships in Lautoka, Fiji.
Junior netters who secured a Top 4 finish in the NPRC currently held at the Guam National Tennis Center in Dededo automatically earn a trip to Fiji.
CNMI bets who are going include boys 16 and under’s Minsoo “David” Kwon, girls 16’s Serin Chung and Savita Sikkel, boys 14’s La Hunn Lam, Nason Wessel, Henry Choi, and Siwoo Lee, girls 14’s Hoo Wang, Hannah Chae, and Anna Kwon, boys 12’s Yutaka Kadokura, Ian Chae, Ryan Choi, and Jihun Park, and girls 12’s Lina Tsukagoshi.
Asked what his reaction was to 15 of his 19 junior netters making it to this year’s POJC, Race said, “My biggest thought about 15 of 19 going to Fiji is how the heck are we going to pay for it?”
As far as results in Day 4 of the NPRC, as expected Race’s wards continued to chug along in spectacular fashion.
Kwon won his fourth consecutive match after beating fellow CNMI netter Cody Shimizu, 6-1, 6-2, in the boys 16 and under.
Lam also remained undefeated after the Wimbledon veteran beat Federated States of Micronesia’s Daniel Dontrick, 6-0, 6-0, in the boys 14s.
Wessel also got the better of compatriot June Yu after a drawn-out match, 7-6, 1-6, 11-9, in the same age group.
Lee, meanwhile, ran roughshod of Guam’s Hilary Toves, 6-1, 6-2.
Seung Woo “Henry” Choi also was victorious against Guam’s Aki Matsuno, 6-2, 6-1.
In the girls 16 and under, Sikkel lost to Palau’s Galyah Mikel, 0-6, 0-6, and Hannah Chae lost to Guam’s Leila Mercado, 4-6, 1-6, in the girls 14 and under age group.
In an all-CNMI match, Wang Hoo beat Anna Kwon, 6-3, 6-2.
Tsukagoshi secured his place in the POJC after blanking FSM’s Maya Artui Neth, 6-0, 6-0, in the girls 12 and under.
In the boys 12 and under, Kadokura got the better of compatriot Jeong Woo “Ryan” Choi, 6-1, 6-1.
Irin Chung vented out her frustration in not making the cut to Fiji by dominating Sorai Nakamura, 6-0, 6-0.
After an absence of two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a total of 19 junior netters from the Northern Marianas are seeing action in the 2022 North Pacific Regional Championships.
They are duking it out against 16 players from Guam, six players from the Federated States of Micronesia, and five players from Palau.