Though Northern Mariana Islands Tennis Association savors the success of its impressive program, the group is not the type that would rest on its laurels.
“We have to continue working hard. We have to be pretty consistent in developing our players. It’s(program) is a cycle. We work on every age group, starting in the U10 mini tennis division, teaching them the basics. Then you work your way up, until you have developed players that can compete in high-level and off-island tournaments and go back to finding more young players to train,” NMITA official and CNMI national coach Jeff Race said.
Carol and Sean Lee, Robbie Schorr, Conatsu and Coume Kaga, and Jimin Woo are just some of the CNMI junior players who have been representing the Commonwealth in competitions outside Saipan.
Carol has been a regular fixture in the ITF Juniors Circuit this year, while her brother Sean just earned a runner-up finish (doubles) in the Vanuatu Junior Regional Championship 2018. Conatsu also made it to the finals of Vanuatu tournament (girls U16), while her younger sister is heading to New Zealand next month for a similar junior competition. Schorr, who also saw action in several ITF Juniors Circuit events this year, is going to Australia later this month for a series of U18 tournaments. Woo, early this month, was in the Land Down Under for both the individual and team events in the 2018 14/U Australian Championships or better known as December Showdown.
“We have several players who are given the opportunity to compete in ITF Juniors and other off-island tournaments and this speaks a lot about our program,” Race said.
The NMITA official also mentioned Colin Sinclair and Isabel Heras with the former joining the ITF Pro Circuit and the latter having a strong debut in the NCAA Division II with the Dixie State University.
“We are trying to secure a grant from ITF for Colin so he can work on his goal of making it to the Top 200 next year,” Race said.
As for the entire CNMI Junior National Team, for the nth time it dominated the North Pacific Regional Championships held in Guam in June and nearly earned a 3-peat in the Nations Cup in the 2018 Pacific Oceania Junior Championships in Fiji when the Commonwealth crew finished runner-up to powerhouse Tahiti.
“We have a lot of success this year and this should encourage us to remain committed with the program,” Race said.