A strong CNMI Junior Tennis Team will start its campaign today in the 2016 North Pacific Regional Championships.
The host squad is composed of U16 players Michael Ren, Vincent Tudela, Steven Goodwin, Jeffrey Seo, Allan Lee, Mimi Sakano, and Grace Choi, U14’s Robbie Schorr, Tony Kim, Ken Song, Sean Lee, Eugene Park, Sam Ryu, Malika Miyawaki, Asia Raulerson, Conatsu Kaga, Maria Gregoire, and Riko Ojima, and U12’s, Jimin Woo, Seung Jin Paik, Richard Steele, Rintaro Miyawaki, Anthony Gregoire, Seung Won Lee, Andy Kim, Jae Hoon Son, Min Gi Jung, Coume Kaga, Anika Camacho, JC Ferrer, Katie Choi, Marielle Lopez.
“I am confident with our players chances in this tournament,” coach Jeff Race said in a telephone interview with Saipan Tribune yesterday.
“We have the strongest U14 team both in the boys and girls divisions. Our U16 player Mimi Sakano is doing very well. We’ve been dominating this tournament in the past several years and I am positive we will do great this year again,” Race added.
The CNMI junior players will be competing in singles and doubles events in the three age groups against the representatives of Guam, Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia.
Woo and Paik are seeded third and fourth in the boys U12 singles, which has Guam’s Andrew Leng and FSM’s Freddy Jerson as the Top 2 seeds. In the girls U12, Coume Kaga is the top-ranked, ahead of Guam’s Kaia Malikooti and FSM’s Paris Panuel and Ridianne Wolphagen.
In the boys U14, the CNMI owns the Top 2 seeds with Schorr ranked first and Kim second. In the girls category, Miyawaki, Conatsu Kaga, and Raulerson are seeded No. 1, 2, and 3, while FSM’s Anne Skilling complete the list.
In the boys U16, Ren and Tudela earned the No. 3 and 4 seedings, respectively, joining Guam’s Camden Camacho and FSM’s Michael Ren. FSM has the top seed player in the girls U16 in Sunshine Palik, while Sakano is ranked second.
Majority of the age groups competitions in the singles event will have a pool play format in the elimination round and players are divided into groups. The boys U12 singles has four groups, while the girls division has only two. In the U14 division, female players are also divided into groups, while the seven entries in the boys category will play in a round-robin format. The girls and boys U16 singles have two and four pools, respectively.
Matches will be played at the Pacific Islands Club, which is the event’s headquarters, and at Kanoa Resort.