Andrusco tops at Boxing Day squash tourney
Ben Andrusco topped the 25th-annual Boxing Day men’s squash tournament last Wednesday, which shouldn’t come as a surprise given he’s won other titles here multiple times over the years.
Andrusco beat Anniss Seid, the defending champ, 3-1 in the best-of-five ‘A’ final.
Andrusco blanked Steven Boileau 3-0 in the other semi-final. In the ‘B’ final, Dave Schwartz prevailed 3-0 over Ryan Brady.
But Tkachuk noted the ‘C’ final was the most closely-contested match of the whole tournament, with Cliff Pidlubny nipping Rory Bagacki 3-2.
“The last game was 14-12 for Cliff to win it and a lot of their games went that tight in the ‘C’ division, so that was good,” said Tkachuk.
This year’s tournament also drew the largest field its 25-year history.
“It was a full draw of 24 players and definitely we can’t have any more players than that,” stressed Tkachuk, adding it made for a long day.
“The guys were very tired,” he said. “Everybody was quite exhausted by the end of the day and ready to go home.
With so many players participating, the tournament lasted 10 hours, which Tkachuk said “is a very long day for squash.”
The tournament started at 8:30 a.m. but Tkachuk said he didn’t leave the Memorial Sports Centre until after 7 p.m.
But overall, he said it was a very successful tournament and everybody was happy.
“It was probably the strongest draw we’ve ever had, and by far the best quality of squash and the best calibre of players,” he remarked.
About half of the draw was made up of junior or ex-junior players. Tkachuk noted a lot of the ex-juniors were home from university and were students that he and his wife, Mary-Beth, had coached.
“They get to see everyone, which is great,” he enthused. “People were reminiscing about old times.
“Basically, what we’re doing is pushing the game for juniors so when they go away to university, they have a game to play,” Tkachuk added.
Tkachuk added the 26th-annual Wes Derksen Open squash tournament coming up next month also will feature a lot of junior players.
“Half of the tournament will be current juniors from Fort Frances, Kenora, Winnipeg, and Thunder Bay,” he noted.
Still, Tkachuk is encouraging anyone to sign up for the tournament, which will run Jan. 18-20.
“It will fill quickly so if anybody wants a spot, they’d better get down [to the Memorial Sports Centre] and sign up,” he warned.
Tkachuk said more than 40 people already have registered.
“Usually we cap it at around 60 people because that’s all we can manage with the two courts,” he explained.
Tkachuk said the tournament should be interesting this year because Andrusco, who has won the title four years in a row, can’t attend so there will be a new men’s champ.
Andrusco will be in Vancouver at a Master squash event for Team Manitoba, Tkachuk noted.