The Northern Marianas Sports Association has named weightlifters Leonardo E. Apelo and Antonette Labausa and soccer player Katrina Costales as athletes of the month for March.
Apelo won Male Athlete of the Month for dominating his weight class during the 2nd Annual Marianas Cup Weightlifting Championships.
He won his weight class and was the best overall lifter in the competition with his best snatch at 115 kg/253 lbs and his best clean and jerk at 145 kg/319 lbs for a total of 260 kg/572 lbs.
Apelo has gained a lot of experience in the sport as he has been lifting for over a decade and has won gold medals for the CNMI in Guam and at the Micronesian Games. Because of that experience, Apelo also makes himself available to help CNMI Weightlifting and its member athletes.
NMSA also named Labausa as the Female Athlete of the Month after topping her weight class also during the 2nd Annual Marianas Cup Weightlifting Championships.
Labausa won her weight class with a best snatch at 76 kg/167.2 lbs and a best clean and jerk of 94 kg/206.8 lbs for total of 165 kg/363 lbs. She was also responsible for the physical setup for the composition. NMSA chose Labausa not just for her accomplishments during the championships, but for also being a team player who trains both herself and other athletes to improve their abilities.
Costales was named Female Student Athlete of the Month for her accomplishment in taking the lead for the Golden Boot Award in Division A of the Dove Women’s Soccer League.
Costales, a senior at Marianas High School, is the current leader for the Golden Boot Award in Division A of the Dove Women’s Soccer League with 7 goals after the fifth week of the league. In addition, she managed 2 goals for the NMI Women’s Team that plays in Division B of the Northern Mariana Islands Football Association Men’s League.
The honoree plays for Shirley’s Football Club in the women’s league and in addition to playing in the leagues and training with the national women’s team. Costales also coaches aspiring youth national team players selected for the NMIFA Junior Academy, also known as the Youth Elite Academy. She also coaches two TanHoldings Football Club teams, the Division B team in the women’s league, and the U15 co-ed team that is now preparing for the youth league.
Also, Costales just received a “C” License, or a coaching certificate, after taking the course in late February. A “C” license is the minimum requirement to be appointed as a coach for international soccer tournaments.
Costales has gained quite a bit of experience in soccer as she has represented the NMI in several international tournaments, the last of which was the AFC U16 Championship Qualifiers held in Tajikistan in 2018.
For the Team of the Month, NMSA gave the honor to SIS Cares For Animals for their win during the inaugural NMI Women’s 10K Run.
During the NMI Women’s 10K Run, Team SIS Cares for Animals, which comprised of Noriko Jim, Sarka Glajchova, Tiana Cabrera, and Anika Snyder, finished with a time of 2:27:33 to top the overall team category finishing ahead of nine other teams.
The team chose Saipan Cares for Animals as the beneficiary of funds raised from the event.