A trio of Brandonites are off to the Canadian junior racquetball championships, which start on Monday in Grande Prairie, Alta., and they’re hoping to get some solid results in northern Alberta.
Brandon is guaranteed at least one medal as Alex Murray will compete in the girls’ under-16 singles event, which has only three competitors in it — Jewel Sauve from L’assomption, Que., and Jessica Leduc from Valleyfield, Que.
Murray, 15, goes into the round-robin competition as the top seed and with a bit of confidence. She has played both of her opponents in doubles competition and has a plan for what it takes to go undefeated and become a national champion.
“Keep my nervousness down and play my game,” she said. “I would be really proud (to win a national title). It’s something I really want to do. I’m working really hard for it.”
Murray’s matches will take place on Tuesday and Thursday.
The 5-foot-3 Crocus Plains student, who became the provincial champion in her age group last month, isn’t just looking at one title though. She has a chance for a second one as she’s teaming up with fellow Brandonite Milana Paddock in the open girls’ doubles event.
The pair have a long history of playing together, including winning a silver medal at junior nationals last year.
However, this year’s pool looks to be a lot tougher. Quebec’s Michele Morisette, who’s the fourth-best women’s player in Canada, has teamed up with Danielle Drury, who’s ranked 30th. They’re also the top seeds in the U18 girls’ singles event, which Paddock is in.
Alexis Iwaasa, ranked 16th in Canada, has also entered the doubles competition, as did Annie Fisher, who’s ranked 29th in the nation. Murray and Paddock are ranked 34th and 51st, respectively.
Although Murray is more focused on singles play than doubles, she hopes to win another medal with Paddock.
“We’re hoping we do really well,” Murray said. “We have really tough competition this year, but we think we do really well together.
“We’re friends outside of racquetball too and we just get along really well. We know how each other plays.”
The six-team doubles competition round robin begins on Monday and wraps up on Friday.
Meanwhile, Paddock heads into the five-player girls’ under-18 singles event, which is a round robin that runs from Monday through Saturday, as the fourth seed. Paddock won the provincial title by default as no other players in her age group entered.
Reid Sorotsky is the other Brandonite competing at nationals. Sorotsky, who lost the provincial final in March, needs a top-two finish in his boys’ under-12 singles group, which includes Quebec’s Sean Sauve and Logan Boudreau as well as Naman Gauri from Lethbridge, Alta., to advance to the medal round.
His round robin runs Monday through Wednesday. The playoffs follow from Thursday to Saturday.