Junior squashers eke out consolation title at Winter Games

The Northwestern Ontario squash team may not have improved on their bronze medal from the 2000 Ontario Winter Games over the weekend. But considering the rich field of players a fifth-place finish isn’t bad.
“Everyone is happy with that. The competition was tougher than it was last time,” said team assistant coach and regular local squasher Bob Tkachuk.
The eight-player team included five players from the local Sunset Country squash club–Steve Boi-leau (under-13), Steve Krag and Megan Canfield (under-17), and Richard Allan and Sarah Noonan (under-19).
Katie Arpin (under-13), and Derek Vilim and Cindy Arpin (under-15 girls), all of Thunder Bay, rounded out the team.
They went 2-2 in pool play to finish out of the medal round but managed to defeat Huronia in the consolation final.
The eight players were tied in matches at 4-4 but Northwestern was given the nod thanks to a 14-12 in individual game played (each junior faced off in a best-of-five match with their counterpart).
Northwestern opened with a 7-1 defeat at the hands of Niagara and rebounded to beat Southwestern 7-1 and Central Region 5-3. They lost 7-1 to Ottawa to finish third in their five-team pool.
Western region then knocked them down to the consolation final with a 7-1 win.
But Tkachuk said the coaching staff which included Bob Shine of Thunder Bay and manager Mary-Beth Tkachuk were proud of their team’s performance.
“The whole team did well. I liked that Steven [Boileau] won two matches. This was his first time at these Games,” noted Tkachuk.
Noonan, Krag and Canfield played for the Northwestern team which reached the bronze medal game at the 2000 games.
Five other district athletes also competed in four other events at the Games–which attracted over 1,700 young athletes from across the province.
Jared Catholique-Bruyere won a silver medal in the juvenile men’s 82+ kg judo event. He went 2-1 in his matches, beating Martin Lee, then Kosta Zhadam (who was the number one seed among the field), but lost to Thomas Filter in the gold medal final.
“It was a close match,” said Catholique-Bruyere, 14. “I got a few penalties and that pretty much cost me.”
Last year, Catholique-Bruyere earned a bronze in a lower weight class.
“I’m happy with the silver. I like I got a chance to beat a first-place fighter,” he said. “I haven’t fought most of those guys in about two years.
“There was a bigger difference with the size change,” he added.
Catholique-Bruyere’s next competitive tournament won’t be until this May in Calgary.
In gymnastics, Jill Howarth joined the Northern trampoline team to finish fifth out of six teams with a point total of 243.1. Team Central took the gold with a 262.4 point-total.
Unfortunately, two teams–the senior girls’ five-pin bowling with Jen AmOrde and the Northwestern Ontario ringette team with Jen Carmody and Megan Bob finished in last place in their respective sports.