The junior squash circuit moved to Victoria last weekend in the form of the Pacific Northwest Jesters tournament. Four venues around the city, including SMUS, were required to host over 200 competitors. SMUS entered 16 athletes and recorded some top results.
On the boys side, at U15B level, Matthew Wong lost narrowly in the final, while Phillip Sing, Mark Felea-Motet and Aamir Djearam claimed the next three positions. In the A flight, Seung Choi and Lucas Galloway both played some excellent squash, making progress in an elite field.
In U17s, Euan Hannigan won a tough first round match 3-1 before losing out in the quarters to the eventual winner from Calgary. Jason Yoo won his first two matches before falling 3-1 in the semi-finals against the top seed.
On the girls side, SMUS dominated the U19B division. Uma Hallea won the gold medal, while Rachel Yuen and Flora Feng joined her on the podium. In the A event, both Grace Thomas and Hedvika Suchankova showed real grit and determination in claiming top five finishes.
Madison Liew reached the U17 quarterfinals, while Alex Brown, the youngest player in the field, won four of her five matches in the U13 competition.
The full draws and results can be found online.
See more photos from the Pacific Northwest Jesters Squash Championships at the SMUS Photo Gallery.
It was also a busy week of basketball, with some league play wrapping up and playoffs getting underway.
Pride of place went to the Junior boys, who moved smartly through the City tournament. After wins versus Spectrum and Claremont, the squad produced its best form of the season in upsetting Oak Bay 55-50 in a thrilling final. A 12-point Blue Jags halftime lead melted away in quick order in the third quarter, but the players steadied themselves and recovered impressively. In particular, the starting five of Ephraim Hsu, Ben Keep, Jasper Bosley, Jamison Schulz-Franco and Gabe Kingsley-Nyinah logged a lot of minutes and executed well in pressure-packed circumstances.
The win sees SMUS enter the February 19-21 Island Tournament as the No. 1 seed from the South Island, with an opening match-up versus Wellington on the cards.
At the Senior level, the boys development team saved the best for last, completing its season with three very solid efforts at the Campbell River RCMP event. Sean Lider, Jonas Robinson and Pablo Fernandez all collected Player of the Game awards following narrow losses to Mark Isfeld and Highland, and an exciting two-point win over Brooks of Powell River.
Meanwhile, the provincially ranked No. 2 SMUS Senior boys A team registered a crucial 60-57 win against B.C. No. 3 Lambrick Park. Twenty-eight points and 11 rebounds from Jason Scully, in addition to 10 each from Graeme Hyde-Lay, Max Pollen and Liam Catto, proved to be just enough. The Jags frittered away a 10-point second-half lead, but scrambled back from a late 53-49 deficit.
Then, to close out league play, the team eased past both Belmont and Mount Douglas. Next up is a February 20 match-up versus Shawnigan, as playoffs kick into gear with SMUS hosting the South Island AA tournament this weekend.
The Senior girls, as expected, moved through their own South Island event, dropping a game to Lambrick Park, but easily beating Gulf Islands, Edward Milne and Brentwood. All players contributed throughout the weekend event, with Chloe Keeler-Young, Robyn Noel, Aveen Glen, Olivia Donald, Emma Loughton and Leah Sparkman leading a balanced attack. Hopefully, 6-foot-1 post Thana Fayad will be available for the full Island competition, set for SMUS this weekend and with the hosts opening against North No. 2 Mark Isfeld.
Unfortunately, the Junior girls could not quite negotiate a way through their City tournament. A slow start proved fatal in the opening round game versus Claremont, despite the best efforts of Taylor Noel. The next day, Mount Douglas’ aggressive 2-3 zone was the difference, as quality scoring chances were few and far between. Laura Williams was named SMUS Player of the Game, while Noel, Emily Stone and Jamie Bruynzeel also performed well.