March 24, 2018
The graduating class of 2018 (those in attendance). (Back row left-right) Will Harris, Coach Greg Hutner, Alex Spafford, Dom Wren, Elliott Hunt, James Flynn, George Crowne, Liam Marrison, Darosham Khan, Will Kuhn, Squash Ontario staff Lauren Sachvie. (Front row left-right) Coach Rob Brooks, Squash Ontario staff Jamie Nicholls, Catherine Giachino, Sydney Maxwell, and Justin Ghaeli.
A year's worth of dedication was demonstrated this past weekend as Ontario's (and other province's) top juniors, coaches, and families spent the weekend at The Club at White Oaks for the 2018 Performance Acura Ontario Open Championships.
With thanks to the Jesters of Ontario for hosting a dinner and awards ceremony with guest speaker Martha McCabe (Olympic Swimmer) on Saturday evening to recognize the great talent, sportsmanship, and leadership that this group of athletes possess. To top that off, a congratulatory send off was made for those ageing out of their junior squash careers or moving onto post-secondary and leaving junior squash behind. This weekend delivered top performances, touching speeches and recognition to very deserving individuals.
A special thanks to Jeff Deverill and Jamie Nicholls for organizing this special evening. Also thanks to Jesters Bert Keene, Rea Godbold and Tony Altilia for representing the Jesters at the event.
This year the event was the largest U35 tournament to date with the tournament selling out 2 ½ weeks prior to the start of the event. There were a total of 98 entries, up from 63 from the year before (+55%) with Scott having to cap the entries due to court availability and ability to supply enough food/beverage for all patrons. Five clubs were used over the course of the event: TRC, Cricket, Cambridge, RCYC, and the Toronto Lawn – who all were more than happy to help accommodate the event. Notably there were 15 female entries this year, vs 6 from the year prior – definitely a positive particularly given that top Canadians such as Hollie Noughton & Nikki Todd participated. Next year we expect this female number to be higher as I do know some females were travelling this year who had hoped to play in it.
The money provided by the Jesters went toward shirts, as well as food/drink, which again was well received with prize money being awarded to the Open Division Winners (Tyler Hamilton - Cambridge/Ryan Herden – Cambridge). Of note, the dinner was – once again – unbelievable with a pork roast, potato mash, chicken, several salads (including a Portobello mushroom salad which was incredible) being served to the vast majority of entrants who were in attendance for the feature Friday night matches. There was certainly no shortage of food or beer as this night did not end early and the TRC was busy from 6PM right up until a hazy last call.
Given the popularity of the event over the past 2 years - moving forward there will be a cap on entries (max estimated at around 100 entries moving forward) and run a similar marketing plan to that of the Smitty (which sold out in less than two weeks this year and began pre-selling in August). This change would benefit the organization of the event as Scott can readily plan courts with other clubs as well as plan the food/beverage with the TRC further in advance.
Support for the event was provided by the Jesters, sponsors (Cushman & Wakefield – Scott Stoneburgh, The Weir Team – Cam Weir, Soho Mortgage – Jerome Trail, Ledoux, Lew, Patterson – Rick Quance, & Brian Murray), and tournament entry revenue. There was no shortage of sponsors willing to step up and support the event – a positive sign for next year’s event.
Overall a big success, looking forward to next year.
December 23, 2017
Last weekend, 60 juniors, 10 coaches and 30 parents boarded the US Open bus to New Haven, Connecticut, in one of the most ambitious trips in SO history. With the launch of our newly revamped high performance program, our goal was to give our top juniors exposure to critical international competition and gauge our level for an assault on the podium in the coming years.
The US Junior Open is the largest squash tournament in the world with over 900 juniors from 40 countries and Squash Ontario had the largest single group in attendance! With thanks to title sponsors Equity Home Builders, The Jesters of Ontario, Sprott Resources and Slaight Music, as well as dozens of other generous donors and corporate partners, SO was able to substantially subsidize the trip allowing more athletes to attend and also to send a world class team of coaches to support the juniors. The group of Marci Sier, Rob Brooks, Graeme Williams, Jessica Dimauro, Lauren Sachvie, Jamie Nicholls, Brent Adamson of Urban Squash Toronto, Matt Serediak, Derek Baldwin and Jonathon Hill worked around the clock across 4 different venues and worked with our athletes to take on the world – a huge thanks to these coaches for their passion and dedication to developing squash in Ontario.
Squash Ontario’s goal was to have 3 Top 10 finishes in 2017 which increases to 5 Top 10 results in 2018. Led by rising star and the immensely talented Iman Shaheen of Ottawa who was the talk of the tournament, upsetting several of the top players in the world en route to a 3rd place finish in the Girls U13, SO came up just short of their goal. Iman’s performance was certainly inspiring as she proved that Ontarians can be the best in the world and led a large group of U13 players that all gained valuable experience. Also in the Top 10 was the Houdini like James Flynn who was a force in the Boys U19, racking up several upsets in a field littered with 128 of the top world junior and University players. He led an overachieving group of U19 juniors including Liam Marrison who made the round of 16 in upset fashion, Elliott Hunt who never backed down all weekend to a Top 20 finish and George Crowne who closed with a 5-2 record – all 4 of these athletes just turned 17 this fall and as a unit are one of the top teams in the world for their age. SO had three 11th place finishes in the event, almost reaching our goal led by Charlotte Orcutt in the GU17 who headlined a very deep and talented group of Ontarian’s in this category – 6 athletes in this division finished with winning records, including Marlow Benson’s 18th place result. In the Girls U15, Molly Chadwick finished 11th place joining fan favourite 11th place Kiera Hickox in the Girls U11 who led an exciting group including Maya Askari, Georgie Baldwin and Rachel Dirks who along with our Boys U11 crew gained invaluable experience in their first ever US Opens. Amin Khan of Windsor rounded out Ontario’s Top 16 performances in the Boys U15 and Jacob Marrison and Daniel Deverill finished strong in the Boys 13 winning 6 matches each to get to the finals of the consolation round with Daniel edging out Jacob.
Squash Ontario wants to recognize once again that we truly have one of the most cohesive and supportive squash communities in the world. This type of team effort is rarely seen in individual sports and all weekend long parents and athletes cheered each other on wearing their team uniforms, supported the group logistically and most of all enjoyed spending time with each other. US Open 2017 was truly a transformative event for Squash Ontario’s juniors and we look forward to building on this momentum for more great things in 2018.
The Ontario Jesters Club continues to build on its 20 year partnership with Squash Ontario. Our goal has been to provide sponsorship to the junior competitive squash events held within the province. In past years, this has been in the form of prize packages for scheduled events. We work cooperatively with Squash Ontario to find the best method to provide support and also receive value for that support. The competitive program for squash runs on three levels; Gold, Silver and Bronze tournaments with provincial championships organized for each level.
The Squash Ontario website is the source for Junior Tournaments in Ontario. It provides the schedule, draws and results for all Bronze, Silver and Gold events. Please use "Squash Ontario" in the Recommended Links section at the bottom of this page for a link to their website.
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