Twenty-six players have been selected to represent the CNMI to the 2018 North Pacific Regional Championships that will be held in Guam from June 11 to 16.
Junior Davis Cup participants Robbie Schorr and Ken Song will lead the CNMI Junior National Team and will be joined on the boys U16 squad by Sam Ryu, Daniel Heo, Eugene Park, and Sean Lee. In the girls U16, the Commonwealth will have Malika Miyawaki, Maria Gregoire, and Conatsu Kaga, while the U14 age group has Seung Jin Paik, Daniel Kang, Andy Kim, Isaac Heo, and Jimin Woo for the boys and Coume Kaga, Anika Camacho, Hyejin Elliot and Erica Tuttle for the girls. In the U12 division, head coach Jeff Race will be pinning his hopes on Anthony Gregoire, David Kwon, Juncheol Hwang in the boys competition and Helen Kim, Serin Chung, Dana Lee, and Ye Jin Son in the girls contest.
The selection was made based on the national junior rankings after the players completed the tournaments under the Northern Mariana Islands Tennis Association’s calendar of events for the 2017-2018 season.
“I believe we are still the team to beat and the best one although we may not be as dominant as before,” said Race when asked about the composition of the squad.
“I am just excited for our new players who are given the opportunity to compete in a high-level tournament outside Saipan,” he added.
In the regional championship, the CNMI players will be challenged by the hosts’ bets and the representatives of Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia. Players competing in next month’s event will battle not only for the singles and doubles titles, but also for slots on the North Pacific Team that will see action in the 2018 Pacific Oceania Junior Championships. The POJC, which will take place in Fiji, will run from July 23 to Aug. 1
“We may get a couple more spots on the North Pacific Team and they will join those who have received wild cards in POJC,” Race said.
Schorr and Song, who finished third in the doubles event in Fiji last year, gained wild card entries in POJC, along with Lee—a semifinalist in the U14 singles and runner-up in the doubles in the 2017 contest. Conatsu, Woo, and the India-based Tuttle were the three other CNMI players assured of slots to the POJC. Conatsu, who returned to Fiji early this year to train at the Oceania Tennis Federation/International Tennis Federation regional facility there, and sister Coume were runners-up in the girls U14 doubles last year, while Woo placed third in singles and also in doubles (with Paik).