Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Thank you to all for a most memorable Marianas Cup!

On behalf of the 17th Marianas Cup Beach Volleyball Festival, we would like to extend our sincere gratitude for all the sponsors who ultimately made the tournament the most successful Marianas Cup to date.

A new record was set for the amount of sponsors, spectators, players, and the quality of play intensified to an all time high. Not to mention, the diversity of countries the players came from was greater than past years. Nineteen women’s teams and 34 men’s teams participated in the three-day event. There were also 10 teams entered in the horseshoe tournament on Sunday. Four professional volleyball players from Japan, 4 from Korea and the 4 from the US, including Gold Olympian Phil Dalhausser made the event a memorable one. Phil not only won 2nd place with amateur partner and local MHS Teacher, Tyce Mister, he was gracious to sign hundreds of autographs, T-shirts, take photos and display his Gold Medal at the awards banquet. In total, 20 from Japan, 13 players from Guam, 2 from Italy, 9 players from California, 4 from Korea, and 1 from Bali flew in for the event and joined the 57 Saipan participants.

On Wednesday, the US pros toured three schools and on Thursday, they hosted a Kids’ Clinic together with the Japanese and Korean pros for a record of 60+ kids. On Friday evening, the local community of approximately 400 people came out in force to watch the 6 exhibition games among the Japanese, US and Korean pros. The US remained undefeated in all matches. The fans cheered enthusiastically and witnessed elite beach volleyball games, not normally available in Micronesia. Immediately following the match, all twelve pros split up via a raffle drawing and played with amateur participants over the rest of the weekend. On the ladies side, the Japanese duo of Miki Yoko and Chie Iwana played error free volleyball and took down the Italian competition to win the title for the 2nd consecutive year while Paul Baxter and California player, Hugo Dooner, won the men’s title. Paul Baxter won back-to-back on his 6th return to the Marianas Cup.

This year Beach Volleyball Japan, sponsored by NWA and PIC was present to capture all events ranging from the Pro-welcome BBQ to the Exhibition, Tournament and Awards Banquet. As such, the CNMI will be featured in a 4 page spread in an upcoming issue. Total ad value is $26,400. For the first time, Korea’s Maeil Business (1 page) and ABROAD (6 pages) sent two journalists to feature the Marianas Cup. Total ad value from Korea is $24,846. The Korean media were sponsored by NMIVA, Asiana and PIC.

In addition, Marianas Cup had its own blog and messages were posted on the popular network site, Facebook. Marianas Cup also had its own information page on PIC’s Japan and Korea’s websites & blogs, RNC’s volleyball tour package and other sites such as and In the CNMI, the Marianas Cup was featured in 22 print and online articles in the Saipan Tribune and Marianas Variety.

There were over $24,000 in cash and prizes awarded and several fans were made happy through the annual raffle drawing. Without the charitable efforts of sponsors, an event like this would not be possible. Once again, we would like to thank you for your generosity, and look forward to an even more spectacular Marianas Cup in 2010, where all of the pros have vowed to return.

Tieing for 5th Place: Hatsui Yui & Chie Inoue and Aurora Santos & Shinako Tanaka ($200)
The 4th place finishers, Keiko Urata & Hiroko Matsuyama were unable to attend the Awards. They won $500!
3rd Place: Hiroyo Kaneda & Megumi Murakami ($1000)
2nd Place: Federica Tonon & Daniela Gatteli ($2000)
1st Place Winners for a 2nd consecutive year!
Yoko Miki & Chie Iwana
Yoko also won MVP!
Tomo Obata won a special $500 NWA travel certificate for his loyalty in returning to the Marians Cup time and again. He not only volunteers to referee, clean the courts and set the nets, he also translates and helped in the Kids' Clinic. Thank you, Tomo san, for your kindness.