Junior tennis players lead August awardees

Carol Lee won the NMSA/TSL Foundation Female Student Athlete of the Month (for August) award for ruling the girls U16 singles and doubles events of the 2017 Pacific Oceania Junior Championships held in Fiji. (Contributed Photo)

The CNMI National Junior Tennis Team, led by Carol Lee and Ji Min Woo, headlined the list of athletes that earned monthly honors from Northern Marianas Sports Association.

The youth netters gained the Team of the Month (for August) plum after their impressive showing in last month’s Pacific Oceania Junior Championships as they gave the CNMI the Nations Cup. The team beat perennial contender and 2014 and 2015 winners Tahiti, 650 to 640. Malika Miyawaki, Grace Choi, Michael Ren, Vincent Tudela, Robbie Schorr, Ken Song, Sean Lee, Seung Jin Paik, Richard Steele, sisters Conatsu and Coume Kaga, siblings Maria and Anthony Gregoire, Daniel Kang, and Hyejin Elliot joined Lee and Woo on the team coached by multi-titled mentor Jeff Race.

Lee was also named NMSA/TSL Foundation Female Student Athlete of the Month after a double-gold medal performance in Fiji. She both won the girls’ singles and doubles—with compatriot Miyawaki—events. She made Pacific Oceania history by winning her fifth junior title (U12 in 2013, U14 in 2014, and U16 in 2015 to 2017). Her performance also pushed her up the International Tennis Federation junior world rankings at No. 208 after she reached the quarterfinals of the Oceania Closed Junior Championships.

Woo, on the other hand, bagged the Male Student of the Month honors following a bronze medal win in the boys’ singles and doubles (with Paik) in the POJC. Woo got the distinction of defeating POJC gold medalist Christopher Ma’asi of Samoa twice.

Meanwhile, Zarinae Sapong and Tyce Mister earned the Female and Male Athletes of the Month awards, respectively, for their exploits in separate international competitions.

Sapong recorded a new personal best time in the 100-meter sprint by shaving off 0.06 milliseconds (from 13.35 seconds to 13.29) in last month’s International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships in London.

Mister, on the other hand, competed in the Leadville Trail 100 MTB in Leadville in Colorado. He finished 406th out of the more than 1,000 that managed to complete the 100-mile mountain bike race, which started at 10,500 feet and climbed to over 12,000 feet.

Leadville MTB, one of the world’s toughest bike races, is also an event for a cause as proceeds from the competition fund scholarships of local kids going to college. Beneficiaries then return to Leadville to serve the community.

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Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez has been covering local and international sports events for more than 15 years. His sports writing career started when he joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, when he was in college.

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