The Pickleball Federation of the Northern Mariana Islands will host the inaugural Marianas Cup Pickleball Tournament this evening at the American Memorial Park Courts in Garapan.
Matches will kick off at 5 p.m. and events will be followed by a potluck. The PFNMI encourages everyone to check out the matches and see what the fastest growing sport in America is all about.
The NMI will be represented by Marivic Dunlop, Chelsea Henzon, Karen Klassen, Mimi Zhang, Nelson Krum, Donn Dunlop, Nicky Nichols, and Roy Pangelinan. Guam will be represented by Derick Alcorn, Tomi Castillo, Albert Manansala, Aubrey Owens, William Josler, Miya Taylor, Jhun Pulongbarit and Odette Taylor.
These teams are all very familiar with each other, having competed multiple times in the last year as both NMI and Guam have been working on growing the sport in their respective islands.
The tournament will be played in a league-play format to include women’s doubles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles. Each round will be a best two out of three format. Champions will have the honor of taking the Marianas Cup trophy home with them until the rematch in a year’s time to be hosted by Guam.
Krum, PFNMI president, said he is ready for Guam.
“We are practicing four times a week to prepare for the tournament,” he said. “We should be ready to represent our island of Saipan and I have every expectation of winning the event and the trophy!”
The Guam Pickleball Association has been working diligently to grow the sport on Guam, recently hosting nine-time national champion Daniel Moore. While on island, Moore visited with the local pickleball community at the Tamuning courts and hosted clinics for intermediate and advanced players. With more than 4 million athletes registered nationally and climbing, there has been more and more interest in the sport over the last two years. So much so that a professional pickleball league has since been established in the U.S. with ownership groups consisting of the likes of LeBron James, Drew Brees and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk.