Squash players get the rust out at Early Bird tourney

An ankle injury from last season didn't create an Achilles heel for Whitehorse's Mustafa Syed. 

An ankle injury from last season didn’t create an Achilles heel for Whitehorse’s Mustafa Syed.

The 17-year-old lived up to his No. 1 seed and cruised through the A division draw at the Early Bird Squash Tournament, hosted by Squash Yukon on Friday and Saturday at Better Bodies Whitehorse.

“It feels pretty good,” said Syed. “I haven’t been playing squash much over the summer because after nationals I injured my ankle and couldn’t play. I didn’t play for about four or five months. So I couldn’t play in the Yukon Open last year.

“Starting off winning it makes me feel like I can get back into it quickly.”

Syed, who also won the Early Bird in 2012, won the tournament without dropping a game in three matches. He defeated second seed Tyler Nesgaard 3-0 in the A final on Saturday.

Syed went 2-2 in U17 boys at the 2014 Canadian Junior Squash Championships in April. He is currently ranked 54th in Canada for U19 boys.

“This is my first year in U19, so my ranking is going to be going down, and I’m going to be playing more of the best in Canada,” said Syed. “So I don’t expect to be that high up, but hopefully making semis or finals will be good for me (at nationals).”

Sixth seed Chris Toleman, who lost to Syed in the semi, placed third with a 3-1 win over third seed Peter Mather.

Kevin Daffe squeaked out a 3-2 win over Dylan Letang in the division A consolation final.

Whitehorse’s Mackenzie Cameron is seeing his hard work pay off. The 13-year-old put in the hours on the practice court and topped the junior division on Saturday.

“I’ve only played in one (tournament) and I got knocked out in the first round,” said Cameron. “But I’ve been training nonstop for about a year and a half.

“I went to watch my dad play his friend once and decided I wanted to play. So my dad taught me for a bit and then he got me lessons and I haven’t stopped.”

Cameron fought back from a game down to beat Ivan Johnson 3-1 in the final. He also defeated third place’s Dylan Massie 3-1 in the semifinal.

“It feels really awesome, especially since I’m going down to Vancouver next weekend for a tournament,” said Cameron.

Michel Gelinas lived up to his top seed in the mixed B division, beating Jim Gilpin 3-1 in the final.

Terri Cairns downed Lori Muir 3-1 for third in mixed B.

Omid Zargaran, playing in his first squash tournament, defeated Andre Benoit 3-0 in the mixed C final.

Andrew Bielz claimed third with a 3-0 win over Sana Syed.

Mattaeus Geisler topped Brett Walchuk 3-0 in the mixed D final for the title.

Kennedy Cairns took third and Ava Cairns won the consolation.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

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