Jr. tennis players reign supreme


Vincent Tudela played for the CNMI Junior National Tennis Team that topped the 2016 Pacific Oceania Junior Championships held in Fiji last month. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

After topping the 2016 Pacific Oce-ania Junior Championships in Fiji, it is just fitting that the CNMI Junior National Tennis Team be recognized at home.

The squad was named Team of the Month (for August), while two of its members—Carol Lee and Robbie Schorr—were selected Student Athletes of the Month last night during the monthly meeting of Northern Marianas Sports Association at the conference room of the Gilbert C. Ada Gym. Completing the team are players Ken Song, Sean Lee, Malika Miyawaki, Asia Raulerson, Conatsu and Coume Kaga, Marie Gregoire, Ji Min Woo, Seung Jin Paik, Michael Ren, Vincent Tudela, Isabel Heras, and Tania Tan, and coach Jeff Race.

Race’s wards collected 685 points in the singles and doubles competitions of the POJC to beat back-to-back champions (2014 and 2015) and powerhouse Tahiti and 12 other island nations. Tahiti gained 660 to drop to second this year.

Carol and Schorr delivered the most points for the CNMI, as they ruled both the singles and doubles events in their respective age groups. Carol swept Fiji’s Vienna Kumar in the girls U16 singles finals, 6-1, 6-2, before teaming up with Isabel Heras in downing Kumar and Ruby Coffin in the doubles finals, 6-2, 6-2.

Schorr duplicated Carol’s feat after surviving Tahiti’s Vaitea Molinier in the super-tiebreaker third set, 6-2, 6-7, 10-5, in the boys U14 singles title match. In the doubles finals, Schorr partnered with Ken Song and they prevailed against Molinier and compatriot Brendon Fong, 6-2, 6-2.

The other CNMI players—majority of them—either made it to the quarterfinals or semis of their respective events. The pairs of Malika Miyawaki and Conatsu Kaga and Ji Min Woo and Seung Jin Paik finished second in the girls U14 and boys U12 doubles, respectively, while Heras placed third in the girls U16 singles.

“Isabel, Conatsu, Malika, and Coume won against higher seeded players and Ji Min and Seung Jin delivered in the doubles. They gave us points that helped us beat Tahiti,” said Race.

“It was a close fight after the singles matches with us having 555 points, Tahiti with 510, and Vanuatu with 495. I am glad we were able to pull it through,” he added.

Despite their recent POJC conquest, the CNMI will not rest on its laurels. Race said they will be back to the drawing board to prepare for next season.

“At the end of the season, we make an assessment of our performance. We look into each player’s strengths and weaknesses and see what we can do to help them get better next time,” the CNMI Sports Hall of Famer said.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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