January and February was an extremely busy stretch in the province and witnessed many impressive results across all ages and levels. On behalf of Black Knight, Squash Ontario is pleased to award Samantha Cornett, Bruce Marrison, Brianna Jefferson and George Crowne as this period's Players of the Month.
Ottawa’s Sam Cornett, now fully recovered from injury had one of the best runs of her career both domestically and internationally. Sam started her winning ways by reaching the semifinals of the Delaware 10k as the #7 seed and followed that up by winning the Winnipeg Winter Club 10k as the #6 seed. Sam then flew back to Ontario to capture the 2017 Racquet Guys Ontario Open Feb 10-12th, defeating training partner Nikki Todd in an entertaining final. Two weeks later, she came through qualifying and posted the most impressive win of her career over WR #11 Joel King in the first round of the 150k Windy City Open in Chicago. Proving she is rapidly headed back to the world top 30, Sam capped off the period by winning the 15k Calgary Open as a qualifier, beating former WR #2 Jenny Duncalf and a slew of other higher ranked opponents along the way.
Although Sam’s string of success was hard to compete with, other great senior female performances included Georgetown’s Christine Kogon who captured the Ontario Open C title and compiled a 16-1 overall record in Jan/Feb, Sue Desa for going undefeated on Ontario’s gold medal winning team at the Canadian Masters Teams Championships, Marnie Baizley’s 4-1 record on Team Ontario’s bronze medal women’s team and a 4th place Ontario Open finish, and Paula Jenkins and Heather MacLean for their unseeded Cinderella run to the final of the Ontario Women’s Vets Champs, before finally succumbing in 5 games to Seanna Keating and Tammy Sangster.
On the Men’s side, Mayfair Parkway’s Bruce Marrison takes senior male honors on the strength of his 4-1 record and captainship of the gold medal winning Team Ontario at the Canadian Masters Team Championships and then following it up by dropping down two age categories to win the 2017 Racquet Guys Ontario Open over 35 championship on his home court.
Other great male performances this period include both Ottawa’s Champion Vincent Taylor and Headwaters Finalist Gary Grant for their epic 5 game 75 plus final at the Ontario Open, Tim Boivard and Norm Crook’s over 60 Ontario Men’s Vet’s Doubles title as the #3 seed (15-14 in the 5th over Steve Hisey and Chris Chappell), Bill Lam’s unseeded Men’s 55 plus Ontario Open title, Ian Boundy's Men's 65 plus Ontario Open title, and Jacob Altenburg’s Reggae Cup A title followed up by a runner-up finish in the Ontario Open A draw.
In the junior girls category, we saw our closest race for Black Knight player of the month with Brianna Jefferson of Mississauga narrowly edging out young Keira Hickox of Elora Racquets. Brianna plays in one of the deepest and most talented U19/17 fields in recent Squash Ontario history where on any given weekend any one of our top 16 players can win an event. In Jan/Feb it was Brianna’s turn to take the baton and she followed up a U17 Gold #3 title at ORC by moving up to U19 and posting an impressive 3rd place finish, pushing her ranking from #5 to #2 over that period.
Keira Hickox from Elora Racquets Club, who started the period ranked #5 in Girls U11, vaulted into the #1 position after a 2nd place finish in the GP#7, a 3rd place finish at Gold #3 before winning back to back titles in the London Squash Silver #6 (GU13) and capping off a great run by winning her first Gold event at the Cricket Club February 24th– 26th. Equally important, is that Keira achieved these accomplishments with a smile on her face the entire time! Honorable mentions in this period go to Ceinwyn Beattie for her first ever gold title and Firdaus Shallo of Urban Squash Toronto for bringing home the Ottawa Silver championship.
Our Black Knight Junior Male player of the month is Oakville’s George Crowne, who moved up to U19 with a surprise win as a 5/8 seed at Gold #3 and then backed it up by winning the U17 title at Gold #4. In between, he posted a solid 5th place finish at the national selection event in Victoria.
Other great junior male results this period included Cedar Springs’ Sam Hatcher for his continued march into the B11 Top 5, Barrie’s Calvin Campitelli who returned from injury and won Grand Prix #8 putting him back into the BU15 top 10, Michael Haffey of KW and Nicholas Trail of the TRC who had two upset wins to reach the final of the Ontario Junior Doubles Championship before finally succumbing to Jackson Kay and Neel Ismail, and finally Jack Willner of the Granite Club who won the U11 Junior Doubles with partner Ethan Jain and followed that up with the GP #9 singles title.
Squash Ontario and Black Knight congratulate all of January and February’s Players of the Month and Honorable mentions. Winners of the award will receive a prize pack courtesy of Black Knight and a commemorative plaque. Good luck to all competitors of every age and level and we look forward to seeing more great performances this coming Spring.