Sunday, April 26, 2015

Ontario High School Squash Championships

   This weekend Tecumseh Vista set out to defend their Ontario High School Squash title.  Our team increased to 17 players this year, with most of them part of our junior program.  The tournament draws were broken up into a Ranked Gold and a Ranked Silver, unranked Junior Girls, unranked Senior Girls, unranked Junior Boys and unranked Senior Boys.  We had players in every draw.
     The ranked draws were incredibly strong yet David and Stefan easily moved on in the Gold draw. Ryan, Niki, Kabir and Maxi didn't have the same success in the Silver draw.  Despite all close matches, none of them were able to stay in the main round and were all relegated to the consolation.
     By far the largest draw was the Senior Boys unranked (about 40 players) and Marcus and Bryce Hughes moved on easily.  Newcomer Hope Hengsperger had little difficulty in her first couple rounds in the Senior Girls draw.  Anna Houbtchev Junior Girl's draw had a few last minute dropouts that required it to go from a draw to a round robin.  Many of our players in the Junior Boys unranked were experiencing their first tournament action and we surprised at the intensity of the matches.  Unfortunately, none of our junior boys were able to stay in the main round of that draw.
     Day 2 saw much closer matches.  David was able to move on to the finals but Stefan came across a very hot player in Akashan Rajagopaul and was off to fight for third.  Anna continued to easily defeat her opponents in her round robin and was soon headed to the finals.  Bryce met his match in the quarterfinals, losing to last year's champion, while Marcus barely broke a sweat on his way to the finals.  Hope played a great semi-final match against a very hard-hitting player.  Hope went down two but fought back to tie it up at 2 each.  After a very close and tightly-contested game 5, Hope was unable to pull out the victory.
    The finals of the Senior Boys draw was the most watched match of the weekend and it was also a rematch of our Gold final in Windsor in which David beat Akasham 12-10 in the fifth.  This match was equally entertaining with very long rallies and Akasham chasing down David's best shots.  An hour later, they are tied at 10-10 in the fifth.  Both players had match ball but couldn't pull it off.  At 13-12 for David a long rally ensued that saw Akasham dive 3 times only to get back into the rally before David finally put him away.
     Marcus was looking for redemption in his final.  He was playing the same player that knocked him out of the draw last year.  However, Marcus' training was clearly on display as he returned his opponent's best shots with better shots.  Like David, Marcus also went 5 games and pulled it out.
     Anna's final was pretty anti-climatic after David and Marcus.  Anna continued to dominate and easily rolled to victory.  Despite winning 3 golds, and a bronze, that was not enough to repeat as champs.  Lawrence Park of Toronto had 2 golds and 2 silvers.  Unfortunately, because Anna's draw was a round robin, tournament rules state that draws less than 8 cannot earn the same number of points as the bigger draws, which means we lost by a narrow margin in the end.  On a positive note, we placed 2nd, a great feat for the Windsor area and again it was commented to me that many people in the squash world are well aware of the positive things that are happening in Windsor and recognize that we are now a hotbed for new talent and a force to be reckoned with in the future.  On a personal note, I couldn't be prouder of the team and of sportsmanship they displayed.   They represented the school and the region in a very positive manner.   Pictures of the event can be found here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

2015 Harrow Junior Squash Finals

On Sunday afternoon, the finals of the 2015 Harrow Junior Squash League were held. The league lasted in total 8 weeks with 11 players participating, ranging in ages from 9 to 13 years old. With all the marbles on the table, the junior players brought their “A” game. The heavy favorite to win the league was Jagroo Bhangoo, although some of the other juniors were prepared to take him down at all costs. The dynamic duo of Armaan Sandhu and Rajanpaul Sandhu who both have vastly improved during the course the league were ready defeat Bhangoo. In the end, it was the young upstart Kolten Brosseau who gave Bhangoo the real test. They met in the final match of the day with everything at stake. Brosseau came out swinging with his quick movement and great anticipation skills that forced Bhangoo to have tight shots that left little room for error. The 1st game it was tightly contested, although Brosseau allowed Bhangoo to jump out to an early lead and was forced to play from behind the whole game. The 2nd game was very similar to the 1st game, Bhangoo up early and Brosseau trying to battle back. In the end, Bhangoo pulled out the victory. Good job to all the players who played in the league.        

Rajanpaul Sandhu and Armaan Sandhu

Kolten Brosseau and Jagroo Bhangoo

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Windsor Domination

      Ok, maybe not domination.  However, Windsor was a very strong presence in the Silver Grand Prix Finale at the National Squash Academy this weekend.  To participate in this tournament you had to be among the top 16 point earners throughout the season in the Silver tournaments.  Sporting their new Windsor Squash clothing, Windsor made its presence felt and took home 5 medals.      
      Hannah Guthrie won the Girls U15 draw, losing only 1 game in the process.  In the finals, she defeated the number one seed in the draw, a girl who she lost to in a previous silver.  Adopted Windsorite, Riley Bore (from Sarnia but plays in Windsor a fair bit), won the very tough Boys U15 draw.  Despite the tough competition, Riley remained steady, making few errors.
      Aaron Nagy had a very tough semi-final match and his shot-making was put to the test as his opponent ran down everything short of a nick.  In this case, retrieving surpassed shot-making sending Aaron to the 3/4 match in which he won handily.
Aaron and Usman
      Always entertaining Usman Khan seemed to be in a battle in every match he played.  All the way through to the finals he was able to pull out the close games.  However, in the finals his energy level was matched by his opponent and Usman won 2nd place in the Boys U13 draw.
Hannah, Aaron, Riley, Vishaal
      In possibly the tightest match of the weekend, Vishaal Mehta, went down 8-1 in the first game of the finals only to fight back and tie it up at game ball.  However, he just couldn't pull out the game.  Game 2 was a much closer game and again it went down to the wire with both players hitting great shots.  In the end, Vishaal just couldn't get the critical points and ended up in 2nd place in the Boys U11 draw.

   Phil Dimitrov suffered a momentary lapse in Game 1 of his first match, allowing his opponent back in after dominating the first 10 points.  Phil couldn't get the momentum back and was relegated to the consolation side of the draw.  Some thought he did that on purpose so he could have more time watching Diego Elias (world junior #1, world rank #47) train??????
      A comment that was made to me as we were leaving the event was that "Windsor came and took home all the hardware."
Aaron and Diego

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Juniors on the Road

Aaron with Number 24 in the world, Alistair Walker
     This past weekend saw our juniors heading in different directions.  Vishaal Mehta played in the Super Silver Championships in Toronto.  Vishaal won his first round and then drew the number one seed in the draw.  Despite playing a great match, Vishaal ended up going down 3-0.  Vishaal won a couple of matches in the cons before finally losing in the quarter finals.  Well done Vishaal!
     And going in the other direction, Aaron Nagy, the Khans and the Maheshwari's traveled to Cleveland to compete in the Gold event there. Aaron traveled the same path as Vishaal in his draw.  Amin lost in the quarter-finals of his draw and his sister Sara lost in the semis of the consolation.  Aparna won the plate round of her division and her sister Ananya won the consolation.  Overall Windsor's junior performed very well this weekend.