CNMI netter Tammy Ackerman clinched the March Female Student Athlete of the Month to lead three others who earned the monthly honors given by the Northern Marianas Sports Association.
Ackerman, who now trains in the home country of her mother in Thailand but still represents the Commonwealth in international tournaments, helped the Pacific Oceania team in clinching a spot in the 2015 Junior Fed Cup World Finals in Australia this month.
The 15-year-old netter needed a 132-minute marathon match before pulling off a hard-earned 6-4, 7-5 decision over Sri Lanka’s Medhira Samarasinghe in the second singles to seal Pacific Ocenia’s 3-0 triumph.
The Ackerman-Samarasinghe match was the longest recorded finale in Junior Fed Cup history.
Ackerman, the CNMI’s highest ranked player in the Junior ITF at 1,009 out of more than 5,000 junior netters, had a 4-1 record in the tournament where she won 61 out of 98 games she played.
Ackerman and Pacific Oceania teammates Mulan Kamoe of Fiji and Palau’s Ayana Rengiil also scored an upset over top-ranked Singapore in Group A of pool play. They scored a 3-0 win over Iran to arrange a finals duel with Sri Lanka.
Northern Mariana Islands Tennis Federation official Jeff Race said officials of the Lawn Tennis Association of Thailand tried to recruit Ackerman since her mother is a Thai national after her strong showing in the Junior Fed Cup.
Race added that Ackerman declined the offer since she was born and raised on Saipan, and will continue to carry the CNMI’s colors in major international tennis competitions.
Jack Kabiriel and Dino Manning, the co-nominees of the Northern Marianas National Paddle Sports Federation, were the Male Athletes of the Month after bringing home two silver and two bronze medals in last month’s 2015 Paddle Sports Classic in Guam.
Kabiriel won the silver in the four-mile one-man outrigger canoe race with Manning placing third. In the two-mile Stand-Up Paddleboard event, Kabiriel and Manning switched places.
Manning clocked 22:44, which was 38 seconds behind the gold medalist from Hawaii, while Kabiriel was third with a time of 23:24.
NMNPSF official Gil Birnbrich said what made Kabiriel and Manning’s feats commendable were they still had podium finishes despite the subpar equipment that they had in a highly competitive tournament.
Andrew Johnson earned the Male Student Athlete of the Month after he and partner Misaki Cramer topped the Junior Cup of the Marianas Cup Pro-Am Beach Volleyball Tournament.
The Saipan International School senior was also selected on the CNMI Youth All Star indoor team and will represent the Commonwealth along with Clay McCullough-Stearns in the July Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea.
Luke Beling of tennis, beach volleyball’s Zena Demapan and Tyler Willsey, junior netter Luther Lizama, and Saipan Baseball League rookie Verlance Secharmidal were the other nominees.