Gross: It’s really been a fantastic run
So far so good for the calendar of interscholastic sports events for School Year 2023, according to Public School System Athletics Program director Nick Gross.
Speaking to Saipan Tribune after last Saturday’s NMIVA-PSS Interscholastic Middle School Volleyball League 2022-2023 championship game, the Northern Marianas Sports Association board member said interscholastic sports is now really back.
“What a relief having the COVID-19 pandemic, you know, more or less behind us and having facilities coming back online and air-conditioning at the Marianas High School Gymnasium, so it’s really been a fantastic run,” he said.
Keeping his fingers crossed, Gross said the PSS Athletics Program can’t wait to kick off its fourth quarter of sports activities.
“Now that we have just closed down our third quarter of sports, we have outrigger canoe next weekend and we have the big boys basketball high school tournament starting Thursday night, so it’s gonna be a wild ride through the weekend. But we’re really really excited to get the fourth quarter sports going again and start preparing for next school year.”
Gross also congratulated the Saipan International School middle school varsity team for winning the NMIVA-PSS Interscholastic Middle School Volleyball League 2022-2023 title after beating Agape Christian School, 21-10, 21-19.
“What a fantastic season. You know, to see the growth and the skill level at this 14-and-under age has astounded me. It’s really been incredible to see them come along and to grow the way they have.”
Gross was especially delighted by the growth of the Torchbearer players led by coach En Yang Pang.
“It’s an incredible testament to what a gymnasium can do for a school. The improvement of Agape prior to their gymnasium, opposed to Agape with a gymnasium, has simply been incredible. It’s absolutely incredible the growth that they’ve been able to show in basketball and volleyball and any of our sports that are indoor sports.”
He added that other schools should take cues on what Agape has been doing to develop its physical education department and sports program.
“You want to develop your sports programs then I highly suggest finding funding streams to fund those gymnasiums and those covered areas because it’s proof that the teams that are getting access to gymnasiums are really showing improvement in their play.”
Gross also thanked the Northern Mariana Islands Volleyball Association and NMSA for helping them conduct a very successful NMIVA-PSS Interscholastic Middle School Volleyball League 2022-2023 season.
“This is due to NMIVA’s continued support and the partnership that we’ve crafted over the years. I really think interscholastic sports has been successful and everyone knows sports in the CNMI is bigger than any one institution and together it’s really coming together. NMSA also has been fantastic at locking everything together. Finally, we’re just getting to a point at which we’ve had a season, knock on wood, in which we have had no interruptions and the schedule of play is fantastic,” he said.