Canadian National Squash Championships 2018

This year’s Canadian nationals were held at the Glencoe Club in Calgary, Alberta. In juniors, I would play tournaments at the Glencoe at least twice a year, but had not been back since. The Glencoe is an enormous facility, housing several squash courts, tennis courts, a badminton arena, an indoor and outdoor pool, curling, skating rinks, and even a bowling alley! Since I’d been there last, they had also re-done the cafeteria, restaurant, and gym. It’s an old club, but has a classic yet modern feel. I wish I belonged there!

The committee and club did a fantastic job organizing the tournament. Everything ran smoothly, and having the entire badminton arena blocked off for sponsors, lounging, and court control helped accommodate the masses of people. Furthermore, the Glencoe featured an all-glass court for the event, which was also put up in the badminton arena. This was pretty cool, since usually only main world series events are held on glass courts. The only downside to the court was that the decals (ie. sponsors logos) on the front wall were very large- and white. Since we were using a white ball, you would often lose sight of it when coming off the front wall. This, coupled with the fast front wall and altitude caused a few flubs over the course of the tournament. All in all, I don’t think it was a major factor in the result of my matches, but the court did take some getting used to, that’s for sure.

Matches

My first match was against Erin Roberts. I had the chance to jump on the glass court prior to the match, and this served as an advantage. I took the ball as early as I could and put pace on it, to force Erin into the corners behind me. This strategy worked well, and I felt surprisingly comfortable on the lightning fast court.

Kids, don’t try this at home!

Now in the quarters, I drew Nikki Todd, a fellow Canadian teammate. We’d played a couple months prior, in the Queen City Open (see previous post for recap), and I had lost in a somewhat close 3 games. Although I didn’t hype this match up to myself or to anyone, I knew it was more important that just a quarterfinal. With Women’s World teams 4 months away, Squash Canada had declared this tournament as trials. The top 4 women would make the world’s team. Sitting in 5th place, I had to beat at least one of the women ahead of me for a place on the team. (5th place is a reserve, but does not travel to the tournament).

Nikki started off strong, and I lost the first game fairly quickly. She was more consistent at applying pressure with low hard drives- similar to what I’d done to Erin the previous day. In the second, I did my best to regroup, and narrowly missed out. The third was a bit scrappy, from what I can remember. I managed to save a couple of match balls, hit a drive  between my legs at 11-11 (which I will blame on a funny bounce), and squeaked it out 13-11. I knew I needed a good start in the fourth game, but quickly found myself trailing by 5 points. Not ideal! Now, with my back against the wall, I began to play better squash, and scrapped together some points. However, in the end I couldn’t pull it out, and went down in 4 games.

After that match, I had several people come up and tell me it was a good game and that I played well, but I couldn’t help feel a bit disappointed. I’m not sure if that was because I knew I would not be on the team going to Womens World teams this fall, or because I felt I could have played better. I actually talked with Nikki after the match and asked her what she had thought of it. I was curious as to what her strategy had been, given my strengths/weaknesses, and the court. Nikki said that instead of lobbing or hitting mid-height shots from a defensive, she aimed to keep the ball away from my volley, with low drives, or drops or boasts if necessary. As someone who likes to attack on the volley from the midcourt, I did find it a bit frustrating, since I had to find other ways to create pressure, and furthermore, neutralize her attacks.

My final two matches of the tournament were both against Calgarians. The first match was against Jamie Laird, whom I’d played Jamie once before in college, and lost in five. Jamie is a great competitor, and had been in form this tournament. The match was a bit of a roller coaster on my end, but managed to win in five games.

Following Jamie, I was up against fellow Princeton alum, Jackie Moss. Jackie graduated right before I matriculated, and played top 3 for the team. Like Jamie, Jackie is a great competitor, and can never be counted out. Now on the last day of the tournament, this match would not just be a matter of squash skills, but also a test of how well your body had held up after 3 hard matches. Despite playing 5 games the day before, I felt pretty decent, and closed it out in a close 4 games. Despite a few reffing blunders, the match was competitive and fair, and a good way to finish off my season.

Overall, I’m okay with how the tournament went. I was seeded 5th, and upheld that ranking. It would have been really nice to have done better, however upon reflecting, I came away with two “macro” positives. First off, I felt mentally much better than the year before (mentally, I was not in a good place for last year’s nationals). Secondly, I had more confidence in my game and in myself than at the beginning of the season. I guess playing 17 tournaments in the span of 8 months will help with that!

Victoria

After a fun night out (there’s always an end of tournament banquet), I flew home the following day to Victoria. I had the best week at home, running a bit, hiking, biking, working out, and also playing “fun squash”, including doubles and lives! I also got to go kayaking, and meet up with friends. The weather was perfect, which made it easy to be outside and be active. That’s one thing I miss about the west coast… no fight for quiet green space!

Early Offseason Plans

Since I’ve been back in NY, I’ve been coaching, and have taken a break from playing. My workouts have consisted of lifting, general circuits, Kettlebell and core at Body Space, and a run. I’m letting myself take the rest of May off from squash, and will start to ramp up off court training in June. As for hitting, I think I’ll get back on court when I feel like it. Last summer, I took nearly a 2 month break from squash- something I’d never done before. It was really necessary, but this off season I’d like to spend more time working on my game, so I feel better prepared for the fall. I am hoping that in the next few weeks, I’ll start to get the itch to play again, but in the meantime, I’m going to work on off-court, and enjoy life a little bit!

 

 

College Squash Team Nationals Recap

I really can’t believe it’s already Thursday. This week has gone by so incredibly fast and I feel as though I have barely had a moment to catch my breath. Don’t get me wrong- I love it when life is fast paced… it makes it exciting! However, it can get quite overwhelming at times, and it can be difficult to balance commitments from different areas of life! (So basically, I apologize for the brevity and possible incompleteness of this post).

That being said, let’s back up quickly to this past weekend, where I was up in Cambridge with my team for the College Squash Association Intercollegiate Nationals tournament! Aka “Nationals”.

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Friday

We played Yale in the first round and won 6-3. A solid effort all around from every teammate, which set us up nicely for the semifinals.

Also, every morning started off with oatmeal, banana, and tons of peanut butter. Breakfast of champions, I tell you.

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Saturday

We lost to Harvard in the semifinals 5-4. A close, tough loss, but most definitely hard fought.

Plus, we had heart-shaped cookies sent to us from my grandmother to cheer us up!

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IMG_6209Aaaand we got little Valentines day gifts from teammates, only one of which is pictured below.

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Sunday

We beat Penn 5-4 in the 3/4 playoff, and then booked it back to campus, arriving in Princeton around 11:30 pm. It’s safe to say that I have been playing catch up on work ever since, all while trying to continue squash training for the individual tournament which occurs in a week!

Alrighty, I left out about 70% of the weekend’s activities, but sadly sleep, squash, and school are taking priority over blogging this week.

Time to get to class!

Howe Cup Nationals Weekend {Friday Favourites}

Hello from Boston!

After ~5 hour drive up from Princeton, we made it safely to Boston late Thursday night. Thanks to some movies (The Town) and some work (Thesis, blog, etc), the drive went by smoothly. That being said, when we arrived, I was more than ready to climb off the bus and into my hotel bed!

And wait, I almost forgot- it’s Friday! (Just kidding, I didn’t forget). But still, this lovely last day of the week calls for a nice little recap to celebrate the beginning of the weekend: Friday Favourites! I’ve been loving a lot of things this week, which has helped balance out the little negative things that tend to arise from time to time.

Friday Favourites

  • Quest Bars

I stumbled upon Quest bars for the first time this past summer in Philadelphia at Unite Fitness. I bought one out of curiosity after one of my workouts, and was pleasantly surprised by this high-protein bar. It didn’t have a grainy texture, nor did it taste chalky like some protein bars, and I thoroughly enjoyed every last bite.

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A few of the bars I bought off Amazon

 

Sadly, Quest bars aren’t sold anywhere in Princeton (the nearest store is driving distance away), so my fascination with Quest was cut short. However, it was reignited a couple weekends ago when we were in New Haven playing Yale, as I stumbled upon a plethora of the yummy bars at Gourmet Heaven. After stocking up with several bars, I left, sad but determined to find them elsewhere. And sure enough, whatever you don’t find in the stores, you can find online- Amazon Prime to be exact!

IMG_6180So, that’s exactly what I did. I searched for a good price on a variety box, and purchased it! I’ve since been enjoying about a bar a day, sometimes as part of breakfast, other times as a snack. So far I haven’t met a flavour I didn’t like, and although I still have many more flavours to try (they have SO many flavours), I am fairly certain I will like them just as much!

  • Howe Cup: Nationals at Harvard

As I mentioned earlier on, this weekend is the women’s intercollegiate squash championships, held in Cambridge. We are seeded fourth, and will be playing Yale first round. I can’t believe that this is my fourth and final Howe Cup- it’s really gone by so fast.

IMG_6128I’m especially excited for the weekend because my parents are flying out to watch (and bringing my grandma’s cookies with them for the team!), and I will get to see all of my squash friends from other teams. It’s kind of like junior squash all over again, except in college squash you have a team to back you up, which I’ve got to say, is pretty awesome :).

Image 5I’ll make sure to write a recap post on Monday to fill you all in!

  • Boomchickapop

What would a Friday Favourites post be without at least two Foodie Favourites? Boring, and non existent- that’s what! I think I fall in love (or back in love) with a new food every week, which is great because I always have something fun to write about on Fridays!

A few days ago I received a package from the kind people at Boomchickapop, which included 4 packages of snacks! I’ve only had a chance to try one so far (the white cheddar popcorn), but am planning on getting to the others next week. I know that taste testing four bags of delicious snacks is such hard work, but I’m sure I’ll manage :).

IMG_6173Once I’ve tried all of the flavours, I’ll be posting a review, so stay tuned for that! If you haven’t tried Boomchickapop, I highly recommend that you do- it’s low in ingredients and calories, and high in taste!

  • Classes this semester

It’s my final semester at Princeton, and I may have finally mastered the art of finding the perfect classes for me. Okay, to be honest I had to take one of them (Comparative Physiology) to satisfy a requirement, but it’s turning out to be really cool! On Tuesday we learned about different skeletal systems, which relates quite a bit to my thesis, and today we went over nutrition/digestion/feeding/absorption. I’m really interested in how nutrition affects performance and our day-to-day lives, so it’s pretty neat the science behind it.

Anyway, I feel as though I could go on for ages about it, but I doubt you want to read about a class second hand that you’re never going to attend, so I’d better stop. However, at some point you will definitely be hearing about my class called “Foodways: Biocultural aspects of the human diet”, because it’s sick. (What a terrible use for the term “sick”, but you know what I mean!).

Alrighty, that’s all from me today. Time to go off and kick some Bulldog butt!

Questions;

What are you loving this week? Anything foodie?

 

Freshly Washed Sheets

Good Thursday morning!

I was up and at ’em before 8 am this morning, as I had to finish up some laundry and pack for the upcoming weekend: NATIONALS! Later this afternoon after a light hit, we will be piling on the bus for a nice 5 hour drive up to Boston to compete in the Howe Cup (the intercollegiate squash championships). We are currently ranked 4th, and have a tough first round match against Yale, which, if we win, would likely put us in the semis against Harvard.

Although I went to well after midnight, I woke up feeling rather rested this morning, thanks to one thing: fresh sheets! 

IMG_4870I had to do laundry last night, which meant it was the perfect excuse to wash my sheets and remake my bed. Usually, I’ll put this off because of laziness and tiredness, but I need to make a mental note to remember just how comfortable it is to sleep in a clean, nicely made bed!

Breakfast

Last blog post I mentioned how I had been really slacking in the food-pics department, so I am pleased to say that today I have several foodie pics for you- all from my breakfast this morning!

Part one of breakfast occurred in my room while packing, with a Banana Nut Quest Bar (post to come on these soon- I’m in love). I ordered a box of 12 off of Amazon (gotta love Amazon Prime for college students!), and have slowly been making my way through them, enjoying every single flavour so far.

IMG_6182Part two of breakfast took place at my eating club, where I had two poached eggs, half a grapefruit, and a pomegranate Chobani Greek yogurt, topped with some raspberries.

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IMG_6195A couple of friends and I picked up the raspberries on our way to breakfast this morning, which made for a very refreshing addition to our morning meal.

Today

Now I’ve got to get a little bit of work done before heading off to Comparative Physiology at 11, followed by a quick lunch, and then a meeting to get help with my Thesis stats! Only one more class til the weekend! 🙂

Questions:

Do you notice a difference in your sleep quality when you change your sheets? 

Do you put off changing your sheets like I do, or do you look forward to changing them?