Alexander, McCormack medal at squash tourney

To be the best, you must play against the best.
Eight members of the local Sunset Country Squash Club travelled to Concord, Ont. over the weekend to compete against some of the top talent in the province at the Junior Silver tournament.
The eight—Anika Alexander, Angel McCormack, Jillian Gustafson, Kimika Alexander, Bryson Skirten, Anniss Seid, Donny Brown, and Mike Brady—were part of a contingent of 14 players representing Northwestern Ontario at the 146-player tournament.
Anika Alexander and McCormack led what was a strong showing from the local group. Both competed in the girls’ under-11 division, with Alexander finishing first and McCormack taking third.
“It was quite impressive because the coaches down there saw them and were impressed with their play,” Sunset Country coach Bob Tkachuk remarked.
“Right now there’s a shortage of female under-11 and under-13 players in Ontario and we’ve been trying to promote girls, so [their results] were a good thing,” he added.
While none of the other six local competitors were able to match Alexander and McCormack’s achievement with a trip to the podium, they did compete well against their opponents from southern Ontario.
In the girls’ under-13 division, Gustafson won a match by a score of 3-0 but then lost her next two.
Meanwhile, Kimika Alexander did not win a match during the tournament but two of her games were very tightly-contested.
In the boys’ under-13 division, Skirten finished with a record of 1-3.
Seid put forth a good effort in the competitive boys’ under-15 division, finishing with a record of 3-2, while rookie Donny Brown went 0-3.
Finally, in the boys’ under-17 division, Brady played tough but could not register a win, going 0-3.
Tkachuk said the event served as an eye-opener for the local players in terms of what it takes to be successful when going up against some top competition.
“I asked all the kids what the difference was between our play and going down to play some of the mid-to-top players down there, and they said it’s the placement of the ball,” he noted.
“It’s about putting the ball where you want it to go,” he stressed. “They all don’t do that enough.
“That’s one thing we are trying to get through to them,” Tkachuk added. “Now they’ve had a chance to see it in a big tournament playing against their peers.”
While he was pleased with the performance of all his players this past weekend, Tkachuk was particularly encouraged by that of his youngest ones.
“We have some girls right from the bottom that we can work with and produce some better results in the future,” he enthused.
As a result of their strong showing in Concord, several of the club’s top players have been invited to a skills development camp in Niagara-on-the-Lake this August.
“We’ve never done that with kids in squash here before,” Tkachuk enthused.
“They’ll be better players because of it as they’ll be with some of the best players in Ontario at their age group,” he added.