Volume 91, Issue 70

Tuesday, February 3, 1998



Opponents squashed in finals

By Jon Tafler
Gazette Staff

This weekend at the OUA individual men's squash championships in London, Western once again proved its dominance in Canadian university squash.

Represented by five of the eight players in the quarterfinals, Western took home both the silver and bronze medals in Sunday's final rounds. The number-one ranked team now awaits next weekend's team championships in Hamilton – an honour Western players are expected to walk away with for the 16th time in the last 25 years.

"One of our goals has always been to win the OUA," Mustang head coach Jack Fairs said, adding that he was delighted with the team's strong performance and feels Western is right on target.

Bronze medal winner Scott Mikalachki said Western will have no problem in the team competition.

"Our depth is unmatched in Canada – we're strong at the top and that strength doesn't taper as you move down the lineup," said the fourth-seeded Mikalachki after defeating Waterloo's Luc Fraser, the tournament's third seed, in four games for the bronze.

Western's top player and second seed for this weekend's tournament, Peter Guildenhuys, played the top-seeded Patrick Ryding of Toronto for the gold – a tough battle considering the two were teammates on the Canadian national junior team. In a tight match where Guildenhuys, a former All-American, led early in every game, a composed Ryding came charging back to win in four games.

"Ryding is an outstanding player and he doesn't let you make many mistakes, but Peter had him on the run for a while," said Fairs.

Rounding out Western's quarterfinal survivors were Jonathan Dale, Richard Yendell and Erik Zaremba.

"It was a tiring weekend for the boys," added Fairs. "But it was a victory for Western as far as we're concerned."

Eugene Zaremba, father of Western's quarterfinalist Erik and coach of the second-seeded Queen's team, praised Western squash.

"They've done a fine job recruiting players and their top seeds are at a whole different level. It's unlikely anyone is going to catch Western – the real contest will be for second place."

Fairs, who has been the man behind men's squash at Western since 1962, attributes the team's continued success to an excellent program which attracts quality players from all around the globe. Western is the only Canadian team that still competes against squash powerhouses such as Harvard and Princeton south of the border.

The men's and women's teams will hit the road to McMaster for next weekend's team championships and two weeks later the men will head to New Jersey to compete in the NCAA championships at Princeton, where Western will be seeded sixth out of 46 teams.

To Contact The Sports Department: gazsport@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998