It’s a rivalry shaping up to be comparable to that of tennis players Roger Federer and Rafal Nadal.
Friends and rivals Stephen Grundmanis and Kai Knorr took to the court at Better Bodies to determine the division A winner of the Better Bodies and Squash Yukon Championships on Saturday. It was not their first encounter.
“We see each other in almost all the tournaments,” said Grundmanis. “We’re really good friends but as soon as we get on the court, there’s no more friends any more. He’s my nemesis on the court but we’re best friends off the court.”
In a close five-game match, Grundmanis took the championships—his fifth in a row. The match featured small comebacks from both players, with Knorr dismissing four Grudnmanis match-points in the fourth set to stave off elimination.
“I couldn’t get that last point,” said Grundmanis.
In the fifth it was Grundmanis’ turn for a comeback, winning the game, match and championships by overcoming a 7-2 deficit.
“I was getting really frustrated with myself and I started yelling and I knew it wasn’t any good at all,” said Grundmanis. “My dad said, ‘Calm down, you’ll play better.’ So I shut up and focused on ball-on-the-wall and it worked out much better in the end.
“That was the closest match I’ve had in quite a while.”
In the B division Coleman Newell defeated Logan Harris in three games for the title.
“Coleman Newell has just been playing for about a year,” said Squash Yukon and Better Bodies coach Marie Desmarais. “He takes lessons with Will Parker—they take lots of lessons. (Newell) has improved a ton.
“Logan Harris, who came in second, he’s going to be a contender as well.”
Will Parker finished third ahead of Benjamin Grundmanis. Graydon McDonnell took the consolation title, defeating Kelly Panchyshyn in five.
The championships also featured a girls novice division won by Megan Timmons with Katrina Dobush in second.
With the competitive season over, Better Bodies is giving players a chance to sharpen their skills for next year by hosting a series weeklong squash camps. Beginning the weeks of June 15 and June 22, the camps will take place Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“They’re two separate camps but they’re for beginners,” said Desmarais. “On July 6 I’m holding one for people who’ve played before and just want to get better.”
For more information on the camps Desmarais can be reached at 633-5245, ext. 4.
“People should sign up pretty fast because I’m only taking so many—I can only take 10,” said Desmarais. “The sooner they register the better.”
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com