The Commonwealth’s Tania Tan, Julia Ishikawa, Ami Tsukagoshi, Luther Lizama, Ken Song, Robbie Schorr, Malika Miyawaki, Conatsu Kaga, Asia Raulerson, Colin Ramsey, and Carol Lee will form the core of the North Pacific Team that will challenge the East and West squads in next week’s tournament. The CNMI bets will be joined on the team by players from Palau, Guam, and the Federated States of Micronesia. The West team has players from Fiji, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Norfolk Island, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu, while the East squad is represented by netters from Samoa, American Samoa, Tahiti, and Tonga. The three teams will fight for the overall championship (based on total points) and the singles and doubles crowns in the boys and girls U12, U14, U16, and U18 age groups.
Last year, the West team won the overall championship, but the CNMI had the best finish among the 17 nations that participated in the competition. The Commonwealth bets earned eight semis berths in the singles division and all six finals slots in the doubles to bring home two gold medals and seven silvers (five in doubles)
This year, CNMI coach Jeff Race said the North team and his wards are still strong, but it will be an open race both in the singles and doubles championships.
“This is going to be an interesting tournament with us still fielding a strong group that has been training hard for the past months, practicing five days a week. We will have a couple of players having a good chance to make it to the Top 4,” Race said.
The CNMI will have three entries in the girls U12 in North Pacific’s No.1 player Malika Miyawaki and No. 2 and 3’s Conatsu Kaga and Asia Raulerson. All three and Song will be making their debuts in the POJC, while Schorr is a returnee, hoping to surpass his semis finish in the boys U12 singles. Schorr lost to fellow CNMI player Michael Ren in the semifinals last year.
Also returning to Fiji are Tan and Lee. Tan made it to the semis of the U12 singles last year and finished fourth, while Lee ruled the division and earned a wild card in this year’s competition despite missing the qualifying tournament—the 2014 North Pacific Championships in Guam. Tan and Lee, along with Ishikawa, Tsukagoshi, and Lizama will compete in the U14 age group, while Ramsey is entered in the U16 division.