It all came down to two points in the junior B division at the Apres Boo squash tournament held at Better Bodies over the weekend.
After letting a 5-0 lead slip into a 8-8 tie, Kelly Panchyshyn won two more points — the last being awarded on a stroke — to give her a 10-9, 9-10, 5-9, 9-1, 10-8 win over Jack Woodwalker.
Although it may have seemed to be a case of nerves seeping into her game, taking some speed off her strokes, according to Panchyshyn, it was all strategy.
“It was just easier shots, and that’s what was beating him,” explained Panchyshyn.
Both players experienced hot streaks mid-match, splitting the third and fourth sets rather easily — especially with Panchyshyn’s 9-1 win to tie the match two games each.
“Whoever was serving had an advantage because we’re really good servers,” said Woodwalker, 11, speaking of the changes in momentum. “(The server) keeps going until the other gets their game back, and then it goes backwards.”
“One of the strongest parts of my game is my serve, so once I get that going it usually psyches out the other player,” agreed Panchyshyn, 15. “That helped me a lot.”
Panchyshyn advanced to the finals with a four-game win over Logan Harris in the semifinals.
In the other side of the draw, which followed the round-robin that started the tournament, Woodwalker defeated Coleman Newell in semis.
“I had a bit of an advantage over him because I think I have more experience,” said Woodwalker of his match against Newell. “I’ve got a better serve, but he definitely has a lot of skill.”
In Junior A, Stephen Grundmanis, 13, breezed through the round-robin format of the division, losing only one game along the way in his match against Sophia Flather.
“(That match) was the most challenging I had this tournament,” said Grundmanis.
“I wasn’t expecting too much — I usually beat her,” said Grundmanis. “So I thought, ‘Now she’s gotten better, she’s coming on strong,’ so I started to up my game a little.”
Grundmanis sealed his first-place finish beating Kai Knorr (SP) 9-2, 9-4, 9-7, in his final match of the robin.
“I was surprised to see Kai play like that,” said Grundmanis. “I used to take him fairly easy.”
The third game was by far the closest on the scoreboard, with Knorr consistently tying the score, or at least coming within a point of Grundmanis.
“The last game there, I’ve never seen him play like that — he was catching up almost.”
Grundmanis, Panchyshyn and Woodwalker all participate in the Junior Development Program at Better Bodies, which takes place Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 a.m., as well as on Saturdays.
“With that, if their game is getting better, if they’re committed to the program, we go to Outside tournaments,” said Marie Desmarais, Better Bodies’ squash pro, referring to January’s BC Juniors in Vancouver and the Pacific Northwest Tournament the following month in Victoria. Those tournaments will typically feature over 150 junior players, of all age groups and skill levels.
“It gives the kids a little goal, it’s exciting and it’s fun and they’re in with a bunch of other players,” added Desmarais. “That’s what we usually train for.”
Men’s A Division
1st Place – Steve Fecteau
2nd Place – Kyle Marchuk
3rd Place – Chris Cullingham
4th Place – Sam Penner
Open B Division (round-robin play)
1st Place – Michel Gelinas
2nd Place – Lia Johnson
Open C Division
1st Place – Trevor Mead-Robins
2nd Place – Glen Rudman
Men’s D Division
1st Place – Trevor Gerberding
2nd Place – Tyler Martin
Junior A Division
1st Place –Stephen Grundmanis
2nd Place – Sophia Flather
Junior B Division
1st Place – Kelly Panchyshyn
2nd Place – Jack Woodwalker
3rd Place – Coleman Newell
4th Place – Logan Harris
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org