Saipan Paddling Club will be fielding three teams in the Micro Cup, which will be held next month in the waters off Meyuns Ramp in Koror, Palau.
SPC head coach Justin Andrew said the club will have its junior girls team and men’s and women’s squads competing in the 500m and 1,500m sprint races and the three long distance events—6, 10, and 12-mile courses.
A total of 26 paddlers will represent SPC in the regional tournament with the group’s women’s team composed of Danica Calvo, Elaine Cabrera, Gerlyn Libunao, Krista Falig, Laarni Zapanta, Losanna Santos, Maria Valentina Haberman, Rica Concepcion, Sylvia Taggart, and Jean Ballesteros. Justine Andrews leads SPC’s men’s squad and he will be teaming up with his son Joshua, John Mario, Scottie Litulumar, Glenn Muna, and Daniel Kaipat. The club’s junior girls team, on the other hand, has Mika Ythemar, Jaslyn William, Dominique Calvo, Leanna Roligat, Josephine Aguon, Deanna Kapileo, Juannie Tenorio, and Catherine Reyes as members.
“This is the largest paddling group the club has ever sent to a competition. I think this will also the biggest that CNMI will ever send to compete in this kind of tournament. Although SPC has sent its paddlers off island to compete in the Micro Cup in the past, majority of SPC’s 2016 Micro Cup team members are new. That said, we will do our best and hope for any of the top spots in the events,” said Justine, who is also the president of the club.
SPC’s paddlers have been training since early this year to prepare for the Micro Cup, which will run from Oct. 21 to 23.
“SPC teams have been working and training for the past seven months, three times a week for a total of about eight hours per week. We will continue to train until the second week of October when our teams will begin departing for Palau,” the SPC head said.
“Training consists of short sprints, turning techniques, and distance runs. Other trainings the teams are also doing are cardio and muscle endurance workouts on and off the canoes. In addition, locally sponsored races that have been held over the past months were used as training grounds for our local teams,” Justine added.
SPC will be battling squads from Palau, Guam, FSM, and Justine picked the host team as the favorites in next month’s competition.
“We never dismiss the power of the ‘home-court advantage’ therefore we know Palau will be tough to beat. This is not to mention that visiting teams from the region are not going to be tough to beat, they have all put in time and efforts to be unbeaten—we look forward to the camaraderie and the rich paddling experience our SPC paddlers will learn from this competition,” Justine said.
The club is still holding fundraising events and accepting donations for their participation in this year’s Micro Cup.
“We want to thank the Napu Outrigger Canoe Club and the Saipan Outrigger Canoe Club for their support and for allowing our teams to train on their outrigger canoes. I also want to thank the parents and the families of all our SPC junior paddlers for their continued and untiring support. We would also like to thank the business and the local communities for their generous in-kind and monetary support for our fundraising events. Without all these supports, our SPC teams would not be able to train and represent our Commonwealth and the club in this upcoming event in Palau,” the SPC president said.