The CNMI Junior National Tennis Team pulled off a nail-biter to claim the Nations Cup in the 2017 Pacific Oceania Junior Championships.
“This year’s Nations Cup was as close as it could possibly be. The score line shows us winning by one match, but several of the matches we took were actually won by one point, as we were playing no-add due to bad weather. So, in reality we won by a single point of tennis out of hundreds played. I am super proud of this team,” said coach Jeff Race yesterday at the conclusion of the nearly two-week competition in Fiji.
“This is what we worked all year for—No. 1 in the Pacific for the second year in a row. Remarkable achievement Team NMI,” Race added.
The Nations Cup was decided by the singles and doubles games played in the U12, U14 and U16 age groups in the first week of the POJC and the Commonwealth survived tough challenges from runner-up Tahiti, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia. Eleven other nations participated in the annual tournament.
In the girls U16 singles and doubles finals, the CNMI had a sweep. Carol Lee won the division title after beating Tahiti’s Guitton and then the former teamed up with Malika Miyawaki in downing Guitton anew and Samoa’s Eleanor Schuster in the doubles finals. Miyawaki also played in the singles and was ranked No. 9, while the CNMI’s third bet in the age group, Grace Choi, finished 11th.
In the boys U16 singles, Robbie Schorr placed third and he had the same ranking in the doubles after partnering with Ken Song. The four CNMI players all made it to the semis of the doubles event with Michael Ren and Vincent Tudela ending up in fourth place. Song, Ren, and Tudela placed No. 7, 10, and 13 in the singles, respectively.
In the boys U14, Ji Min Woo was the highest ranked Commonwealth player in the singles after taking the third spot. He was joined by Sean Lee in the semifinals, while Seung Jin Paik and Richard Steele landed at No. 13 and 15, winning their consolation games. In the doubles, Lee (with the Federated States of Micronesia’s Jerson Freddy) gained the runner-up honors, while Paik and Woo rounded out the Top 3.
In the girls U14, sisters Conatsu and Coume made it to the doubles finals and finished runner-up to New Caledonia’s Clara Cwajenbaum and Vanuatu’s Desiree Signo. In the singles, Conatsu was ranked third, while Coume and Maria Gregoire placed fifth and 12th, respectively.
In the U12, the CNMI’s Daniel Kang and Anthony Gregoire finished fourth—the same ranking Hye Jin Elliot got when she suited up for the North Pacific Team.