Weightlifters raise CNMI’s medal haul

In an instant, the CNMI’s medal haul in the 9th Micronesian Games jumped from 20 to 36, thanks to the 15 collected by its weightlifting team yesterday.

Reigning Northern Marianas Sports Association Male Athlete of the Year Angel San Nicolas led the weightlifting squad’s medal rush after sweeping the men’s 105-kilogram’s clean & jerk, snatch, and total. San Nicolas was first to have a 130-kg lift in the clean & jerk to beat Yap’s Alvin Reuuemau, while in the snatch, the former submitted 110kg against the 90kg of the latter. For the total lift, San Nicolas had 240kg versus the 220kg of Reuuemau.

In the women’s 90-kg division, Antoinette Labausa also had a perfect performance after prevailing against Bonnie Cruz in an all-CNMI duel. Labausa had 91kg in the clean & jerk and 68kg in snatch for a total of 159kgs, while Cruz logged 80kg, 45kg, and 137kg.

In the men’s 94-kg weight class, Rodrigo Ada contributed two silver medals and one bronze. He recorded 95kg in the clean & jerk and 190kg in the total category for the pair of silver medals, while his 85kg in the snatch handed him the bronze. The Marshall Islands’ Sione Haho swept the three events after posting 120kg in the clean & jerk, 95kg in the snatch, and 215kg total.

Joey Tudela duplicated Ada’s feat after winning two silver medals and one bronze in the men’s 85-kg division. Tudela registered 120kg in the clean and jerk to place third behind the Marshall Islands’ Kabuati Sailas Bob (160kg) and Pohnpei’s Adra Dolon (121kg) and then had 105kg in the snatch and 225kg total for the two silver medals.

The CNMI’s 6-7-2 gold-silver-bronze medal haul was the second best in the field. The Marshall Islands had the most medals in the weightlifting competition after gaining 30 (26 gold medals and four silvers), while Pohnpei had a 4-9-2 tally to match the Commonwealth’s total (15). Palau, Yap, and Kosrae won three medals each.

With the weightlifters’ contribution, the CNMI finished yesterday’s competition with a 9-18-9 tally. The Marshall Islands jumped from seventh to first place with its 28-15-4 tally, while Guam is at close second with its 27-12-12. Palau is not far behind at third with its 27-11-12.

Baseball team settles for silver
The weightlifting squad’s medal rush somehow eased the pain of the CNMI’s loss in the baseball finals yesterday.

Pohnpei handed the Commonwealth another bridesmaid finish after holding on to an 8-7 victory in the gold medal game. The CNMI last won the gold medal in the 2006 edition of the Games before losing to Palau in 2010 and against Guam in 2014.

Pohnpei got off to a good start, leading at 7-3 after five complete innings and then hung tough in the end to foil the CNMI’s comeback bid.

A two-run single from Anthony Tenorio at the bottom of the sixth inning sparked the CNMI’s comeback. A.J. Lizama then made a sacrifice fly to move the team within one, 6-7, while Tenorio reached off a wild pitch to knot the count.

However, Pohnpei regained the upper hand at the top of the seventh after getting an earned run. Pohnpei went on to keep the shaky lead and the win as its defense frustrated the CNMI in the last three innings.

The Commonwealth was called for two quick outs at the bottom of the seventh and the third out came a couple of plays later with its runner caught stealing second. The CNMI then had its best chance to either tie the match anew or take the lead when it loaded the bases at the bottom of the eighth with two outs. However, A.J. Lizama flied out to center, moving Pohnpei one complete inning away from pulling off an upset against the CNMI, which came into the finals with a perfect 5-0 mark.

The scored remained at the top of the last inning with the Commonwealth holding its ground on defense, too to stay in contention. However, Pohnpei also played solid defense at the bottom of the ninth with a 1-2-3 play. Nokki Saralu and Shane Yamade went down on 6-3 and 4-3 plays, respectively, while Franklin Lizama was struck out.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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