Michael Mehl and Michele Garceau have been crowned our 2015 Canada Games Individual Champions, earning the title tonight at the Northern Sport Centre in Prince George. This concludes our Individual event, the first that has been held as part of the Canada Winter Games since Squash's inclusion in the event in 1991.
The night was nothing short of exciting from beginning to end. Our Women's matches were up first, with Sophie Mehta (ON) taking on Chloe Chemtob (QC) for the Bronze Medal, and Michele Garceau (BC) versus Madlen O'Connor (ON) for the Gold.
The Bronze Medal match started with a 40 minute blood delay after Mehta took a racquet to the face on the second rally. Mehta bounced back and took the first game 11-5 before Chemtob came back to take the next three and the match 11-4, 11-6, 11-3.
Meanwhile on the nieghbouring show court, the Gold Medal match was another close 4-game comeback affair. Garceau lost the first 11-9 and come back with straight 11-8, 11-8, 11-4 wins to top the podium. Both O'Connor and Garceau played the entire match with class and smiles on their faces, really demonstrating sportsmanship and the spirit of the Games.
The Men's Final was next to step on court, and the match lived up to the hype of the packed crowd. David Baillargeon, the event's top seed from Quebec stormed out of the gate to take the first game 11-3 and snuck out the second game 16-14. The younger Mehl was able to take control of the match and push Baillargeon, 3 years his senior, out of his game plan. Three games of very aggressive squash with back and forth momentum resulted, with Mehl coming out on top 11-7, 11-7, 11-4 for the upset win.
Team BC was guaranteed another medal in the Individual event, as the Men's Bronze Medal match was a battle of teammates Matthew Toth and Gavin Maxwell. Despite being overshadowed by the Gold match next door, the boys from BC made sure to put on a show to end the night, giving us another 5-game match. Toth proved his endurance once again, winning his third 5-game match of the individual event 14-12, 8-11, 5-11, 12-10, 11-4.
That wasn't all of the action we saw tonight. Individual positions 5 through 8 were played out in both the Men's and Women's Draws. On the Men's side, Ontario's Carter Robitaille finished 5th with a 3-0 (11-4, 11-5, 11-4) win over Alberta's Brett Schille, and Ontario teammate Alexi Gosset placed 7th, defeating Quebec's Sebastien Boucley 3-2 (7-11, 11-9, 11-4, 9-11, 14-12).
For the Women, Alberta's Tara Shannon beat PEI's Quincy Beck 3-0 (11-8, 11-4, 11-8) to grab 5th place, and BC's Grace Thomas finished 8th after defeateing Manitoba's Hannah Blatt 11-8, 11-5, 11-8.
There is still plenty of squash action to come as the Team Competition continues through Saturday. Tomorrow is the last of the Round Robin matches, including key placing matchups to determine who is playing for the podium.
On the Men's side, Ontario and Quebec will play for the top spot in Pool A tomorrow at noon, and Alberta and British Columbia will fight for first in Pool B at 6:30.
BC and Alberta will also be facing off on the Women's side to see who tops Pool B and moves into a more favourable spot in the crossover matches. Ontario versus Manitoba and Nova Scotia against PEI will be close matches to watch in Pool A as they determine Pool placing.
All teams will play crossover matches on Friday with all Final Positions played out on Saturday.