Nineteen players have been selected to represent the CNMI to the 2017 North Pacific Regional Championships that will be held in Guam in June.
Named to the CNMI Junior National Team are U16’s Michael Ren, Ken Song, Vincent Tudela, Grace Choi, and Malika Miyawaki; U14’s Sean Lee, Ram Ryu, Eugene Park, Andy Kim, Richard Steele, and Maria Gregoire; and U12’s Daniel Kang, Anthony Gregoire, Andrew Chung, Jiwoong Kwon, Jillian Christi Ferrer, Anika Camacho, Helen Kim, and Hyejin Elliot.
The Commonwealth bets will be battling players from Guam, Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia for slots on the North Pacific Team that will compete in the 2017 Pacific Oceania Junior Championships in Fiji in August.
Members of the elite squad were chosen based on their performance in the four tournaments under Northern Mariana Islands Tennis Association’s calendar of events for 2016-2017. Each player received ranking points in both the singles and doubles events of the TanHoldings Tennis Classic, Coconut Tennis Classic, Junior Fun Tournament, and the recently concluded CNMI Junior Tennis Championships.
Song gained 1,750 ranking points to finish second behind Lee (2,000), while Tudela and Ren collected 1,350 and 1,000 points to place fourth and fifth in the boys U16 rankings, respectively.
In the girls U16, Miyawaki earned 1,000 points to finish second behind Tania Tan (1,200), who will not be able to join POJC due to school commitments. In place of Tan was Choi who was ranked third in the U18 division with her 1,500 points, but is still eligible to play in the lower age group.
In the boys U14, Lee also got the most points with 3,500 after topping the TanHoldings Tennis Classic, White Coconut Classic, and CNMI Junior Tennis Championships. Ryu came in next with his 3,200, while Park, Kim, and Steele rounded out the Top 5 after recording 2,275, 1,900, and 1,650 ranking points, respectively.
In the girls U14, Gregoire is the Commonwealth’s lone entry in the division in Guam and also topped the NMITA rankings after gaining 3,100 points. If Gregoire makes the grade in the June tournament, she will join siblings Conatsu and Coume Kaga, who are still training in Fiji and have already earned spots to the POJC along with boys U16 defending champion Robbie Schoor.
In the U12 age group, Kang and Ferrer will lead the CNMI Junior Team after ruling the rankings list. Kang was awarded 3,750 ranking points to beat the 2,550 of Gregoire, the 2,325 of Chung, and the 2,225 of Kwon. Ferrer, on the other hand, posted 3,875 to prevail against fellow North Pacific Regional Championship-bound Camacho (3,100), Kim (2,100), and Elliot (2,100). Elliot earned the last spot on the group after pulling off an upset over Ferrer in the CNMI Junior Tennis Championships last week.
The mix of returnees and newcomers on the CNMI Junior Tennis Team will have a tough task ahead in the tournament in Guam as they will be pressed to keep the Commonwealth’s domination in the NPRC.
Last year, the CNMI gained 17 slots on the North Pacific Team and Robbie Schorr and Miyawaki won the boys U14 singles and doubles (with Ken Song) and girls U14 singles and doubles (with Conatsu) events played here.