Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mohr and Lambert win Canadian Junior Titles

The Canadian Junior National Racquetball Championships were held last week in Regina, Saskatchewan. Hometown boy, Colin Mohr and Frédérique T. Lambert won the Boys and Girls 18 and under divisions, respectively. Complete results are available on the R2 Website.

Mohr was a surprise winner, as he was seeded 7th. But as he defeated the 2nd, 3rd and 4th seeds - Jamie Slamko, Anthony Barraco and Conrad Cole, respectively, to take the title, Mohr certainly earned it. Impressively, he won the semi-finals (against Barraco) and finals (Cole) in two straight games.

Several Boys 18 and under champs have gone on to play for the Canadian National Team, including Mike Green, Sherman Greenfeld, Simon Roy, François Viens and most recently Ryan Smith. However, for some players, such as Guy Desjardins, Andrew Kane and Jeremy Renaud, the 18 and under title was their last significant racquetball accomplishment.

Thus, the correlation between being a junior champion and a senior champion or National Team member is far from perfect. It's an open question as to which category Mohr will fall into.

That's not an open question for Lambert, as she has already appeared on the Canadian National Team in two competitions: the Pan American Championships last year and this year, when she earned a bronze medal in Cali, Colombia.

At 17, Lambert has already had more success than the previous Girls 18 and under champions - Brandi Jacobson Prentice and Denise Haynes, who were each multiple winners of the 18 and under title, but have yet to play for Canada at an international event.

Our point here is that while future racquetball champions were likely good junior players, it's not the case that being a very successful junior player will translate into being a very successful adult player.

There are multiple reasons for that, but one is that people mature at different times. This can be seen at almost any junior tournament, especially in the 12 and under or older divisions, where some kids have started - and perhaps completed - their growth spurts, while some of their contemporaries may not have even started that spurt.

Players who have their growth spurts (GS) early have an advantage over same age players as the GS player will be bigger, and able to put on more weight from training. That can translate into hitting the ball harder and being more explosive when moving to the ball, both of which are significant important aspects of racquetball.

So we congratulate Lambert and Mohr on their accomplishments last week, but recognize their futures - like those for the rest of us - are far from certain.

Follow the bouncing ball....

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