La Place Rendez-Vous squash tournament

A slew of new champions were crowned at the annual La Place Rendez-Vous squash tournament at the Memorial Sports Centre over the weekend.
All but one.
Bob Shine (Thunder Bay) made it five-straight men’s ‘A’ crowns after sweeping Rory Hygard, also of Thunder Bay, 3-0 in the best-of-five final Sunday afternoon.
The title also was Shine’s eighth out of the 15 years the tournament has been held here.
“I don’t know what it is. I like playing here, that’s for sure,” said Shine, who also will coach the Northwestern Ontario junior squash team at the Ontario Winter Games in Guelph next month—a squad that includes five local players.
“Eight titles in 15 years. I think we’re going to have to break his legs,” fellow ‘A’ competitor Bob Tkachuk joked during the trophy presentation.
Local squasher Ben Andrusco beat Tom Carten on Friday night to earn the right to face Shine in the semi-finals Saturday afternoon. And he grabbed an early 6-4 lead before being overtaken 9-7 in the first game, and then losing 9-6 and 9-5 the rest of the way.
“The difference is just in good shot-making,” said Andrusco. “The ability to put the ball away. That’s what Bob does well.”
This is Andrusco’s second year as an ‘A’ player, but it was his first match against Shine in tournament play.
“As a squash player, you’re just looking to play the best in the region at these tournaments. It was definitely a good experience,” said Andrusco.
“Ben gave me a good run and was close on several occasions,” said Shine.
Meanwhile, Tkachuk fell to Shine in the quarter-finals and was relegated to the consolation round, where he beat Carten but then lost to former Fort Frances resident Jason Kabel 3-1 in the final.
Anthony Andrusco lost to Hygard in the first round and again to Kabel in the consolation semi-finals.
In men’s ‘B’ action, Rob Aitken downed Dave Zablosky 3-1 in the all-Kenora final, while local squasher Al Christiansen took the consolation title with a 3-1 win over fellow club member Mark Faragher.
Other locals competing in the ‘B’ flight included Toby Munroe and Jim Krag, who each finished with 2-1 records, Steve Krag and Richard Allan (1-2), Al Holt (1-1), and Paul Visser (0-2).
The men’s ‘C’ final featured an all-Fort Frances showdown, with John Hazel Jr. beating Ken Allan 3-1. Hazel Jr. reached the final with wins over Bruno Castellan (Thunder Bay) and Drew Allan (Fort Frances).
Locals Kyle Carrier, Dustin Faragher, and Mike Andrusco were dropped down to the consolation side but failed to reach the final, which was won by Castellan.
And Josh Gonzalez won the men’s ‘D’ title after sweeping fellow Thunder Bay player Derrick Vilm. Gonzalez advanced with wins over Derek Allan and Cole Doerksen (both of Fort Frances).
Vilm had beaten Josh Sigurdson (Fort Frances) in the semi-finals.
Steve Boileau, Brian Glavish, Chad Faragher, and Brandon Roden were the other local club members who played in the consolation side. Roden went on to beat Boileau in the final.
In women’s ‘B’ play, defending champion Mary-Beth Tkachuk was swept by Donna Harris (Winnipeg) in the final. She had beaten fellow club members Michele Mihichuk and Kris Krag in her first two matches.
Harris advanced to the final after downing Sarah Noonan in the semi-finals.
Manami Alexander went 2-1 to capture the ‘B’ consolation final over fellow Fort Frances player Megan Canfield, who finished with a 1-2 record. Mihichuk and Darlene Barrett, also of the local club, both went 0-2.
And the all-local women’s ‘C’ event saw Cheryl Wiersema take home the title after going 3-0 in the four-player round-robin loop. Kim Mutz was second at 2-1, followed by Gina Sigurdson and Lisa Allan.
Each division winner took home $50 in cash and clothing embroidered with the Sunset Country Squash Club logo.
Co-organizer Bob Tkachuk said the tournament is the most competitive one the town hosts each year, attracting players from across the region and Winnipeg.
Next up for the local contingent is a men’s tournament in Kenora on March 1-3.