Lee, Miyawaki take student-athletes awards


Saipan Community School’s Carol Lee and Saipan International School’s Rintaro Miyawaki were named NMSA/Tan Siu Lin Foundation Student Athletes of the Month (for April) after their impressive showings in separate tournaments last month.

Lee took the April top honors after posting four wins in the 2016 Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Asia/Oceania Final Qualifying while playing for the Pacific Oceania team. The 14-year-old CNMI junior netter’s most notable victory was recorded in their game against Thailand’s as Lee defeated the opposing team’s top player Watsachol Sawatdee, 6-4, 6-4. Lee’s triumph over Thai’s No. 1 player in the division came a day after she nearly pulled off an upset against world No. 46 Baijing Lin of Australia. The Commonwealth bet stunned Lin in the first set, 6-2, before losing the last two, 5-7, 1-6.

After her victory against Sawatdee, Lee and the Pacific Oceania crew dropped their next five matches, but the CNMI junior netter closed out strong, winning her last two games. Lee topped Sri Lanka’s Anya Gunawardena, 6-0, 6-4, and then teamed up with Vienna Kumar in beating Gunawardena and Anika Seneviratne, 4-6, 7-5, 11-9. The SCS student also defeated Uzbekistan’s Milana Maslenkova, 6-1, 6-3, in an earlier match.

“Carol really did a great job in India and gave Pacific Oceania the most wins in the Junior Fed Cup. Her experience in playing against several tough players in the region will help her a lot this year as she competes in more ITF Junior ranking events,” said Northern Mariana Islands Tennis Association official Jeff Race, who nominated Lee for the monthly plum during NMSA meeting last night at the conference room of the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.

Meanwhile, Northern Marianas Islands Football Association nominated Miyawaki for the male student award and the MP United striker got the unanimous votes from NMSA members. Miyawaki was recognized for helping MP United win the co-ed U12 crown in the 2016 NMIFA Spring Youth Football League and scoring the most goals (29) in the season. He also joined the 2016 CNMI Junior Tennis Championships last month and won the boys U12 doubles title with Richard Steele and finished second in the boys U12 singles behind Seung Jin Paik.

Joining Miyawaki and Lee on the April awardees list was volleyball’s Sabrina Pangelinan, who got the Female Athlete of the Month plum for placing second (with Knohlynn Gechig) in the 2016 Marianas Juniors Cup held in Guam and in the 2016 King and Queen of the Beach that took place on Saipan.

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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