Friday, October 31, 2014

Squashers heading to Winter Games

The road will be long but well worth the travel for some of Fort Frances’ premier junior squash players.
The Sunset Country Squash Club foursome of Angel McCormack, Marita Matias, Shawn Brady, and Naomi McManaman were selected this past weekend for the Northwestern Ontario team that will represent the region at the 2014 Ontario Winter Games from Feb. 27-March 2 in the Muskoka region.

For McCormack, 16, this will be her third trip to the biennial games. But that doesn’t preclude her excitement level from being on the rise.
“I love going to the Games,” she enthused.
“It’s a great opportunity for meeting new players and other people,” she added.
“There’s a great atmosphere to the Games and you get to represent your region.”
McCormack didn’t win any match her first time out four years ago, then improved enough to win one at the 2012 event.
This year in the U17 division?
“I would like to make the playoffs and not give up on myself when things start going wrong,” McCormack remarked.
“There’s something about playing an opponent who is ranked higher that gets something going in me.”
Matias, meanwhile, will take her shot at provincial recognition in the U15 division.
“It wasn’t as shocking to get named to the team as it was for the first time two years ago,” noted Matias, who competed at the 2012 Games in Barrie.
“I’ve been telling the coaches I thought I had improved and I like playing better competition to keep improving,” she added.
Having lived the Games’ experience already, Matias
believes she’s better prepared for the competition.
“I won’t be as nervous as last time,” she predicted.
“I enjoy myself more now playing the game and I don’t get mad even when I’m losing,” Matias said.
“People are always saying no matter what, I’m happy and have a smile on my face.
“That helps my game and I don’t let the negative conflict with my games,” she reasoned.
Brady, also a third-time Games’ participant, was blown off the court in his first appearance four years ago.
“It was my first major tournament and I kind of got crushed,” he chuckled.
“The second time, I actually won a couple of games but no matches,” he recalled.
“The coaches can see I’m improving.
“My goal is to win at least one match this time,” Brady said. “I’m more comfortable, but I have to remember I’m improving but that the opponent is improving at the same time.
“I have to be the better one on that court, and play quicker and smarter than the other guys out there,” he stressed.
Rounding out the foursome is McManaman, who will compete in the U17 division.
Club president and head coach Bob Tkachuk said he hopes the youthful group doesn’t take what is in front of them for granted.
“I think some of them will realize later than sooner what an awesome opportunity this was,” he remarked.
“Not very many kids get to go to the Winter Games.
“It’s a great chance for them to shine at their sport,” Tkachuk added.

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