Napu Outrigger Canoe Club’s youth paddlers pick up where they left off, winning nine medals in the 19th Micronesia Cup held over the weekend at Matapang Beach in Guam.
Napu’s junior team, which ruled its division in last year’s Micro Cup that took place in Palau, still stood out in the Guam-hosted tournament, bringing home four gold medals, four silvers, and a bronze—the most by any Saipan squad that participated in the weekend races. The club’s junior girls team (Unit 1) swept the 500m, 1,000m, and long distance races, while the junior boys crew topped the 1,000m event, placed second in the 500m, and finished third in the long distance. Napu’s girls and boys paddlers then combined in the mixed division and took the runner-up honors in all three events.
Daydra Hocog, Isa Ito, Catherine Calma, Dayna Macaranas, Mayah Duenas;, Dahlian Salas, Poima Tarkong, and Leisha Deleon Guerrero suited up for Napu’s junior girls team and they defeated Guam’s BKC Junior Girls in the four-mile long distance course. The visiting paddlers clocked in at 19:29 against BKC’s 20:07.2.
In the junior boys division, Napu was represented by You Jin Jun, Oldie Roligat, Nate Nogis, Paul Heo, Joe Nekaifes, Darian Salas, Steven Goodwin, and Abbas Shakir. The crew clocked in at 18:03 to complete the podium with champion Haggan (17:09) and GT JR Shock (17:20).
For the mixed division’s long distance course, Sablan, Calma, Shakir, Goodwin, Duenas, Ito, and Poima Tarkong wrapped up the two-mile race in 18:56.2 to beat Fanihen Tasi (20:01) and placed second behind Haggan (17:49).
In the junior boys 1,000m finals, Napu submitted 5:56.7 to prevail against Haggan (5:59.4), GT Shock (6:02.4) and GT Lock (6:21.5). In the girls division, Napu paddlers were the runaway winners after logging 6:44.8 against BKC’s 7:03.1, while in the mixed event, the club had the second best time of 6:13.9, downing Fanihen (6:46.9) and behind Haggan (6:10.1)
Napu’s junior girls team also had a convincing win in the 500m finals after completing the sprint in 3:10.5 against the 3:16.7 of BKC. In the junior boys, Napu had a close fight against Haggan with the latter registering 2:46.9 against the former’s 2:47.3. GT Shock and GT Lock timed in at 2:47.9 and 2:56.4, respectively. In the mixed event, Napu posted 2:59.0 to beat Fanihen (3:08.5) and BKC (3:15.3) and place second behind Haggan (2:55.3).
“We are extremely proud of our junior team’s performance in the Micro Cup 2017. They have been training very hard, enduring daily practices for months leading to Micro Cup. Our junior team garnered the most medals for the CNMI,” Napu president Ponce Rasa said in an interview with Saipan Tribune.
“We look forward to recruiting more kids to join Napu’s junior program heading into to 2018. We are certainly looking forward to promoting the sport of outrigger canoe here on our island,” he added while making special mention of the groups and individuals who supported their Micro Cup campaign and their program since Day 1.
With the club’s youth paddlers’ success, Ponce believed Napu’s junior squad should be nominated and voted as “Team of the Month” (for October) in the upcoming Northern Marianas Sports Association’s selection. NMSA will have its monthly meeting on Nov. 9 to choose the Student Athletes of the Month, Male and Female Athletes of the Month, and Team of the Month awardees.