Monday, February 19, 2018

Canadian Team Championships, Day 3

      After a great party on Saturday, matches began first thing in the morning.   First matches up on Women's side was a battle for the bronze with Ontario 2 battling it out with Quebec.  Team Ontario pulled out the victory, securing our first medal.  On the men's side, it was Ontario 1 vs. Manitoba and again Team Ontario won, giving us our second medal.  
     Then it was time for the big matches and the crowd began to swell.  First up were the women's matches with Team Ontario 1 taking on Alberta.  On paper it looked like this match could go either way.  In the opening match it was Hollie Naughton (Ontario) playing Jackie Moss (Alberta).  Despite the 3-0 score in Hollie's favour, the games were very tight.  1-0 Ontario with the #1s on each team up next.  Sam Cornett vs. Danielle Letourneau.  Sam came out in game 1 very strong and over-powered Danielle.  However, game 2 was all Danielle as she forced Sam into numerous errors.  Sam settled down for game 3 & 4 and took the match in 4 games, giving Ontario 1 the Gold medal.  To finish off Ontario's dominance, Micaala Seth defeated Jaime Laird in 3 games.  
     Next up was the men's.  Team Alberta vs the favourite, Team Quebec.  These matches were
difficult to view if you didn't get there early and staked out your spot.  The first match was a hint of the kind of match it would become.  #2s, Graeme Schnell (Alberta) vs. David Baillargeon.  The first game was full of long rallies, incredible retrieving and great shot-making.  David took the first game 13-11 in about 1/2 hour.  
     Just as game 2 got underway, Jahanger Khan arrived to watch the match.  You could feel the energy on the court rise (if that was even possible).  Game 2 saw more of the same with Graeme taking this one.  Graeme would go on to win the match 3-1.  Alberta 1, Quebec 0.
     Because the first match took so long, matches 2 and 3 were sent off about the same time.  The match that drew the biggest crowd was Shawn Delierre (Quebec) vs. Andrew Schnell (Alberta).  Shawn forced Andrew to hit perfect shots as he retrieved just about everything Andrew hit.   On the court next to them, Shawn's brother, Jason, was battling it out with Jacob Hooker.  Both matches finished about the same time with Shawn winning 3-0 and Jason winning 3-1, giving Quebec the Gold medal.  
     Somehow during all this, Jahanger found time to get on the court and play 3/4 court with all the juniors.  No matter how long since you last played, some things don't leave you, like the pure hitting of the squash ball.  Thank you Jahinger for spending time with our juniors, it is a memory they will cherish the rest of their lives.

   The streams of the matches can be found here.  A write up from Squash Canada can be found here.  Pictures of the weekend can be found here.  Overall it was an amazing weekend of squash and camaraderie.  It was great to hear the players praise how great everyone treated them in Windsor and how great Windsor is and what a fabulous event we put on.  Graeme and Dave showed Canada that Windsor is the place to be for squash right now.  Of course, none of this would be possible without the support of Anis Khan and Darrin Peterson.   Thank you to all the VIPs and spectators that came out to support this weekend.  

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Canadian Team Championships, Day 2


   Welcome to day 2 of the Canadian Team Championships!  Matches began at 9am and went right through until 7:30.  In the Men's draw, Alberta won 2-1 over Ontario 1 (hosting province gets an additional team).  However, it was no walkover as matches were very tight and heavily contested.  On the other side of the draw, Quebec breezed through.  This means an Alberta/Quebec final as seedings predicted.
    In the Women's draw, Ontario 1 cruised past Manitoba to earn a place in the finals.  On the other side of the draw, Alberta defeated Saskatchewan to advance to the finals.  All finals matches begin at 11:30 on Sunday.  Not to say those are the only matches tomorrow.  There is still bragging rights up for grabs and all the provinces are still competing for final placements.
     The highlight of the weekend was definitely the Saturday night dinner.  So many thanks to Anis for organizing all this.  160 people game out for the dinner, including many WSF members and supporters.  Once seated we were "surprised" with the legendary Jahanger Khan, winner of 555 consecutive matches and without a doubt, the most dominant squash player in history.  Jahanger talked about the importance of hard work and fulfilling our ambitions in squash.  After dinner, he was was kind enough to pose for many, many pictures.  This was a once in a lifetime opportunity.  Again, thank you Anis.
     Saturday reaffirmed how much of a social sport squash is.  Members mingled with players from around Canada who were more than willing to talk squash.  Squash is the great equalizer in conversation and our visiting players were more than willing to accommodate.  Sunday looks like it is going to be a very good day for squash.
     Links to the draws can be found here and pictures from the weekend can be found here.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Canadian Team Championships, Day 1

    Wow!  What a day of squash.  Matches started at 11am and ran until 8:30.  There were a ton of great matches and a lot of exciting squash to watch.  For those of you unfamiliar with a team event, each province enters a team of 3 players.  Each province gets seeded based on those 3 players.  Women and men compete in separate draws.  In other words, men and women from the same province are not the same team.  Every province (minus the territories) submitted a team (except for a female team from BC) plus the Canadian Armed Forces had a male and female team.  If your team wins, you advance to the next round.
     In the men's draw, top seeds Alberta and Quebec looked very strong today.  The Schnell brothers put in a strong performance, showing they will be a tough team to beat.  Quebec was equally impressive with Shawn Delierre leading the way with an impressive win full of incredible shots.
     In the women's draw top seed Ontario and Alberta easily advanced to the next round with Sam Cornett and Danielle Letourneau leading the way.
     Be sure to come out tomorrow to watch all the amazing squash taking place.  Matches begin at 9am and go until 6:30.  Attached are links to todays results.

Men's results

Women's results

Pictures from today

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Gold #3

     10 of WSF juniors competed at Ontario Racquet Club in Mississauga at the Jesters Gold#3.  As this was a CORE event (Team Canada qualifier), the best from around Canada showed up to earn points for the team.  WSF juniors continue to play well and push the established top players.   The highlights of the weekend were Amin Khan, finishing 3rd in his first attempt at the ultra-competitive U17 division and Ananya Maheshwari winning the U13 division.  Ananya has dominated her age group for a number of years now and continues to play better and better.  Well done Ananya!
      Ryan Guthrie and Aaron Nagy played very tough in their first rounds but could not hang on for wins.  However, both found success in the bronze division and ended up playing each other in the finals.  It is always tough playing your training partner in a tournament but these played their hearts out.  Rallies were very punishing and both displayed incredible shot-making.  Aaron ended up pulling it out in the end, 3-1.
     Sara Khan and Hannah Guthrie continue to close the gap on the top players in Canada.  There is little difference between them and the other players in the U17/19 draws.  Hannah lost a tough 5 game match to one of the top seeds while Sara, drawing the #1 seed, played her tough with very few easy points. 
      Aparna Maheshwari, made it to the semi's where she ran into the #1 seed.  Despite playing with an injury Aparna played very hard but in the end lost 3-0.  Aparna went on the finish 4th. 
     Usman Khan always plays everyone tough.  There is no easy point with him and he always give players a hard time with his persistent retrieving and power game.  He lost a heartbreaker 12-10 in the fifth in the consolation semi-finals.
     This weekend also brought out some newer faces to the gold scene.  Gina Marinelli is approaching the end of her junior career and wanted to get in her last tournament.  Gina played very well and will go on and become a very successful club player. 
     Subhan Shabaz is getting his feet wet with the higher level of play.  Despite his inexperience he showed that he is ready to compete in the U13 draw. 
     Final results can be found here

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Gary Waite Tour Visit WSF

     It was a very busy weekend at WSF as we hosted both the Southwest Ontario Winter Games tryouts.  This tournament is to determine who the representatives will be for Southwestern Ontario at the Ontario Winter Games on March 1-4th.  Players from as far from London came for the day to try out.  This year it looks like a Windsor-dominated team.

U13- Ananya Maheshwari, Vishaal Mehta
U15- Usman Khan, Aparna Maheshwari
U17- Sara Khan, Amin Khan
U19- Hannah Guthrie, Jayden Short

Good luck to all competitors.

     Sunday saw 38 competitors play in the Gary Waite Tournament.  The Gary Waite Tournament is designed to players just beginning to play squash and looking for some tournament competition.  It travels throughout Ontario and has a different stop each month.  There were many exciting matches, tears and laughs throughout the day as players competed.  ThWinners are as follows:

U10- Tyler Chalmers
GU13- Serena Marcon
BU13- Liam
O14- Carter Furmanek

Runner-ups

U10- Lucien Stojanov
GU13- Julia
BU13- Christian Lindo
O14- Subhan Shabaz

Consolation

U10- Maisie Williams
GU13- Adelaine
BU13- Will Greenslade

Grinners

GO14- Courtney Furmanek
BO14- Tanner Dorner








Sunday, December 17, 2017

Grade 3 Squash Festival

On Saturday, WSF hosted 15 Grade 3 players from 3 schools.  Graeme has been visiting Central, Vista, and LaSalle for 6 weeks and running an intramural program at those schools.  The top players were invited to take part in the Squash Festival at WSF.  It was really amazing to see students not even able to hit the ball in week 1 actually having rallies on Saturday.  The winning school was LaSalle and the individual winners were Seth Ferris (LaSalle) and Kennedy Awender (Vista).  Winning individuals earned a free winter session to the junior program.  Thanks to Dave and Carrie for ensuring this event went off without an issue.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Gary Waite #3

      This past weekend proved to be a busy one for junior squash.  It was also the 3rd stop in the very popular Gary Waite Junior Tour.  9 of our up-and-coming junior stars made the trek all the way to Waterloo for this 1-day event.  Congratulations to Carter Furmanek for taking 3rd place.  He was only point away from getting into the finals.  Other notable performances were Manour Shahbaz who won the 10 and under consolation draw.  Lucien Stojanov who won the 10 and under Grinner division and Shubhan Shabaz who won the 14+ Grinner division.  Current standings can be found here.  Next stop, Windsor on Jan 21.