Canada’s Coaches Contribute to Pan Am Junior Successes

2019-05-31

OTTAWA, ON, May 31, 2019 – Reflecting back on Canada’s results at Pan Am Juniors over the past 20 years, the skill and success of our athletes is undeniable; our talented players have made it to the podium on numerous occasions. However, it is the nation’s best coaches who mentor and support them along the way, playing a pivotal role in the success of Team Canada. In this article, we will be featuring some of the past coaches of our Pan Am Junior squads.

The junior women have won gold for Canada three times over the years, with the most recent victory coming in 2013, when head coach Melanie Jans led the team of Hollie Naughton, Chloe Chemtob, Evelyn Moorhouse and Jillian Baker to a top-place finish in Brazil. Since finishing her junior career, Hollie has gone on to play professionally, and is currently ranked an impressive 30th in the world for women.

In 2006, head coach Jessica DiMauro was a driving force behind the triumph of the Canadian junior women’s team at the Pan Am Junior Championships held in Guatemala. Jessica guided her talented squad, comprised of Sarah Parsons, Jackie Moss, Samantha Cornett and Erika Dort, to their gold medal finish. Jessica is now a squash coach at the Granite Club in Toronto, Ontario, and is currently working with several members of the 2019 Canadian Pan Am Junior squad.  “The Pan Am Games in Guatemala marked the first international competition for many of our young juniors,” said Jessica. “The squash and cultural experience were equally exciting for this terrific group of athletes. They competed hard, met great friends and explored Guatemala. All of this was a steppingstone for successful professional and college careers, with our number one girl from that year, Sam Cornett, reaching a Professional ranking of #23 in the World. Although I do not coach the National Team anymore, I am excited to have two of the kids I coach on this year's team. They have worked very hard to be able to represent their country. I am sure this event will excite them and encourage them to play more international tournaments. Best of luck to Team Canada!”

In 2018, Matt Serediak and a junior men’s line up of Dominic Wren, James Flynn, and Elliott Hunt headed to Brasilia, Brazil to compete in the Pan American Junior Squash Championships. With their mentor rooting for them during the whole experience, the boys were able to capture the gold medal, and bring home some hardware. Matt had this to say about how physically grueling the event can be: “The event is very tough on the athletes! They end up playing a ton of matches between individuals, doubles and the team event. Quite a few of our athletes were playing two matches a day for most of the tournament, with a couple days they played three on a day! So, managing their bodies, mental energy/emotions were very important. Seeing our athletes reach the podium, including the boys winning the gold medal in the team event, was extremely rewarding! Everyone worked so hard throughout the entire tournament, so to see their hard work and effort pay off is what every coach hopes to see happen.”

Janet MacLeod worked alongside Matt Serediak at the 2018 championships in Brasilia, Brazil, as the coach for the junior women’s team. Janet guided the four talented athletes as they faced some tough international competition, and ultimately finished a solid fifth place. Janet will be returning as head coach of the women’s squad at this year’s 2019 Pan American Junior Squash Championships, where they will battle it out to finish on the podium. “Coaching our Junior Girls at the Pan Am Junior Squash Championships in Brazil last year was a fantastic experience,” said Janet. “The girls really rose to the challenge of hot open-air courts - not only in singles play but in doubles as well.  It was very exciting! Lots of Canadian pride went into winning the medals but also when our teams were awarded the Fair Play trophy. I am really looking forward to coaching the team on home soil this year.  Hopefully our Canadian fans can be as boisterous as the Brazilian ones were last year!”

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