The 23rd Annual Marianas Cup Beach Volleyball Festival, officially sanctioned by the FIVB since 2008, is ready to roll from Feb. 26 to March 15. The Kids Cup in both Guam and Saipan has been moved to March 15, Sunday
The Festival is a combination of events that spans the generations and abilities of players. This year’s event will have pro players from Japan, China, and the U.S.
The professionals from Japan are Erika Habaguchi, Samaa Miyagawa, Kosuke Sato, and Tsuchiya Takashi. Habaguchi is a returning three-time champion that now plays on the professional tour.
Rongrong Shen, Mentong Wang, Wuqin Lin, and Zequan Lu will be coming from China, and Paul Baxter, who will be shooting for a record fifth title, will be coming back from California to defend the men’s title with Guam beach volleyball standout Misaki Cramer, who became the youngest ever champion last year.
This year the Festival kicks off with the main event, the Marianas Pro-Am Cup, to be held in Guam at Ypao Beach Park. The event starts with a free clinic conducted by the pros at 4pm on February 26. The clinic is open to all age groups to learn about the beach volleyball game.
Feb. 27 will feature an exhibition game between the pros from Japan and China beginning at 6pm.
Immediately following the exhibition will be a raffle in which some lucky amateur players will win a chance to play in the tournament with one of our visiting pro players. The main tournament will start on Feb. 28 with pool play. The top 16 teams will advance to the double elimination bracket on March 1.
“This is the biggest weekend of the year for our beach players from around the region,” said Guam Volleyball Federation vice president Jon Cramer. “It gives them a good test of where their skill level is against pros and top amateurs from the neighboring islands.”
The Festival continues with the Marianas Junior Cup to be held at the Fiesta Resort & Spa on Saipan on March 7 and 8. The Junior Cup is for players 19 years old and under, with both men’s doubles and women’s doubles teams.
March 7 will consist of pool play with the top 16 teams advancing to the double elimination bracket on March 8.
The final event is the Marianas Kids Cup to be held on March 14 in both Guam and Saipan. This event is a four-person co-ed event for U14 players. The Kids Cup will begin with pool play in the morning followed by a double elimination bracket in the afternoon. Last year’s Kids’ Cup had 48 players on Guam and over 100 on Saipan.
“The whole three weekends are about having fun and growing the sport. Many players come for the friendships that have been developed at Cup over the years. In fact, there are always several combinations of teams of people from different countries,” said Cramer.
GVF is encouraging young players from Guam to go and compete against the strong pool of players on Saipan. While NMI Volleyball Association is encouraging Saipan volleyball players to represent in the ProAm Cup.
United Airlines is offering special rates for both Saipan players to attend the ProAm and the Guam players to attend the Junior Cup.
Registration forms can found at St. John’s School Gym, GVF’s Facebook page, Marianas Cup Beach Volleyball Festival Page, NMIVA’s website www.nmivolleyball.org, or email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teams registering for the Pro-Am event must do so by 6pm on Feb. 22. Teams that register by Feb. 18 6pm will receive a $20 discount. In Guam, call Jon Cramer (727-4999) or Chris Shepherd (727-8443) for more information or in Saipan you can call Laurie Peterka (670) 483-7499.
GVBF would like to thank our current platinum level sponsors—GVB, United Airlines, PIC Guam, and GHD. NMIVA would like to thank Saipan’s major sponsors—MVA, Fiesta Resort & Spa, DoCoMo Pacific and Practical Solutions LLC.
There is always room for more sponsors, contact Jon Cramer or Laurie Peterka for more details on sponsorship packages. (PR)