Serin Chung, La Hunn Lam, and Ian Chae capped their memorable stint in the 2022 North Pacific Regional Championships with age group championships last Friday at the Guam National Tennis Center in Dededo in Guam.
Chung defeated Palau’s Malyah Mikel, 6-3, 6-1, to complete a perfect record in the girls 16 and under age group en route to the championship.
“It was exciting since I’ve never placed in the North Pacific Regional Championships before,” she said.
Chung dedicated her victory to her parents and coach Jeff Race.
Lam, meanwhile, blanked fellow CNMI netter Seung Woo “Henry” Choi in the finals of boys 14 and under to also cap an undefeated run in his age group.
“I was truly grateful, happy, and proud to be a part of the team of the CNMI. I will never forget the awesome feeling and memory of winning first place in the NPRC,” he said.
Chae then gave the CNMI its third singles championship by amassing the best record in the boys 12 and under division.
He clinched the championship after beating compatriot Yutaka Kadokura in dramatic fashion, 6-3, 2-6, 12-10 .
“It was exciting to play in the NPRC with four different islands. In the match against Yutaka I was losing 4-9 in the super tiebreaker, but I made a comeback and won 12-10. I was happy and excited to win the match,” said Chae, adding that he’s dedicating his victory in his age group to all his supporters.
Race said Team CNMI gave a good account of themselves in the 2022 North Pacific Regional Championships, considering 15 out of his 19 his players qualified for the 2022 Pacific Oceania Junior Championships in Lautoka, Fiji.
“I think it’s a great result. We also won the girls 16 and under, boys 14 and under, and boys 12 and under. In the B14 we went 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and in the B12 both teams qualified so that was 1, 2, 3, 4. Really, the G14 event was excellent as well. Although Guam won. our girls went 2, 3, 4, 5. We showed terrific depth and that’s a testament to our program and coaches,” he said.
The CNMI sports hall of famer, however, lamented that two of his ranked players were upset in their age groups.
“The hiccups came in that our players ranked No. 1 in both boys and girls 14s didn’t qualify. They were beaten by their teammates in both cases which again shows how deep the program is. Those players were June Yu and Irin Chung. If other players don’t go or they receive a wildcard they may still make it though. That’s up to the Oceania Tennis Federation,” he said.
Aside from Serin Chung, Lam, and Chae, the other CNMI bets that secured tickets to the POJC in Fiji are boys 16 and under runner-up Minsoo “David” Kwon, girls 16’s Savita Sikkel, boys 14’s Choi, Nason Wessel, and Siwoo Lee, girls 14’s Hoo Wang, Hannah Chae, and Anna Kwon, boys 12’s Yutaka Kadokura, Ryan Choi, and Jihun Park, and girls 12’s Lina Tsukagoshi.
After an absence of two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a total of 19 junior netters from the Northern Marianas saw action in the 2022 North Pacific Regional Championships.
They duked it out against 16 players from Guam, six players from the Federated States of Micronesia, and five players from Palau.