It will soon be determined who will make up the CNMI tennis teams to the upcoming Micronesian Games, according to coach Jeff Race.
In an interview, Race said he is starting to see a clearer picture as to who will represent the CNMI, citing that five players have already secured slots.
Race said that Palau South Pacific Mini Games veterans Tim Quan and Kana Aikawa will lead the men’s and women’s teams, with Race also securing a slot in the men’s field and youth sensation Mayuko Arriola joining Aikawa as the No. 2 player. Young gun Lila Mailman has also proven herself on the courts during the recent challenge matches and has secured the No. 3 spot in the women’s corner.
Aside from Race and Quan, others looking to represent the CNMI in the men’s field include Ralph Buenaventura, Nicolas Son, Ji Hoon Heo and new addition Todd Montgomery. Prior to Montgomery entering the mix, the group also included Keith Gabaldon, who Race said withdrew from the qualifying competitions.
“Keith Gabaldon withdrew from team and Todd is in, so we’re back to six,” Race said, adding that the men’s team will be known within the next two months. “That’s when we’ll make the final cut. Everyone else is still up in the air.”
Meanwhile, the women’s field also includes Audrey Motto and Vivian Lee, who are now competing for the fourth and final active spot.
Only five players will be part of the men’s and women’s teams, however, the fifth player will serve as an alternate.
The netters have been working hard as they prepare to assemble a competitive team to the Games, which will be held from June 23 to July 7.
“We’re intense, even in practice. We’re going all out all the time,” Race said.
He added that no one else could jump on board in the tryouts.
Earlier, Race said he expects both teams to be in contention for medals in the Games.
The Micro Games will feature about 1,500 to 1,700 athletes and officials from around the region and will be hosted by the CNMI for the third time.