Team CNMI will be fielding teams in nine sports in the 2018 Micronesian Games, which will be hosted by Yap mid this year.
Leading the Commonwealth’s delegation is the baseball team, which faces a tough task of ending the CNMI’s back-to-back bridesmaid finishes in the well-loved sport in the region. The CNMI lost to Guam in the gold medal game in Pohnpei in 2014, 6-14, and to Palau in 2010 in Koror, failing to defend the title it last won in 2006 (against Guam) when the quadrennial meet was last hosted here.
Saipan Baseball League officials Rose Igitol and Tony Rogolifoi confirmed the group’s participation in this year’s Micro Games that will run from July 15 to 28, during the Northern Marianas Sports Association meeting last Thursday.
Other sports that are interested in sending athletes to Yap are basketball (men and women’s), beach volleyball (men and women), canoe/paddling (men and women), table tennis, athletics, indoor volleyball, weightlifting, and swimming (open water swim only). The organizing committee in Yap has given participating nations until Jan. 15 to confirm their entries by numbers, while a chef de mission meeting is scheduled in March.
If all the teams make a final confirmation for the Micro Games, the CNMI’s delegation to Yap will be bigger than the one it sent to Pohnpei four years ago.
In the 2014 Micronesian Games, Team CNMI competed only in athletics, weightlifting, swimming, canoe racing, baseball, spearfishing, and men’s and women’s basketball. The Commonwealth went home with 14 gold medals, 15 silvers, and five bronzes to finish sixth in the medal standings behind Guam (42-27-12), Pohnpei (36-41-37), Palau (36-31-38), Marshall Islands (34-23-33), and Yap (17-23-15) and ahead of Kosrae (4-3-11), Nauru (3-9-5), and Chuuk (3-4-9).
The athletics teams handed the CNMI the most medals (15). The track squad was made up of Rachel Abrams, Lia Rangamar, Denise Samson, Friendly Joy Pena, Zarinae Sapong, Beo Ngirchongor, Brandon Phillip, Dylan Ackerman, Seiya Eda, Michael Mancao, Jason Lampkin, Doris Rangamar, Sylvan Rangamar, Ronald Olopai, Antonio Ichiou, Jesse James, Dan Joab and Jaynard White.
Weightlifters Raymond Santos, David Barnhouse Jr., Leo Apelo, and Salvi Villanueva then delivered 14 more medals, while four came from swimmer Victoria Chentsova, and one from paddlers Ketson “Jack” Kabiriel, James Pedro Aldan Jr., Carter Calma, Benusto Olopai, and Joshua Andrew. Baseball and women’s basketball also won a silver and bronze, respectively, for the Commonwealth.