Laurier squash taking the next step
With ambitions of becoming OUA-sanctioned, Laurier Squash Club takes next step with tournament
Competitiveness is on the mind of the Wilfrid Laurier University squash club. Since its birth in 2012, the club has worked to become more competitive, gaining entry into the BDO Northfield Cup from September 21-26.
The tournament, which offers a $5,000 purse for the competitors, is a Professional Squash Association (PSA) international event. Events of this caliber attract top talent from around the world, including places such as Switzerland, England, France and Mexico.
The tournament begins with a qualifying tournament that gives local players the opportunity to gain entry into the 16-player main draw. The first 12 players are ranked and gain automatic entry, with the final four decided in the qualifying tournament.
The upside to having an event like this in the Waterloo region is that it also opens up spots in the qualifying tournament for local players attending the University of Waterloo, the University of Guelph and Laurier.
Gabe Platt, president of the Squash Club, is representing Laurier at the tournament along with four other Laurier players. According to Platt, playing in a tournament like this will be the highlight of his career.
“One of the main things I really want to do is represent the Laurier club well,” Platt said. “Essentially, we are relatively new club compared to the other universities that are a bit more established. It is a great way for us to get our name out there and be really recognized as a competitive level club.”
International tournaments such as these also serve as a stepping block towards entering other tournaments like this one. Platt said there are many tournaments hosted in Ontario and once a player competes in one, they are able to compete in any tournament on the PSA World Tour.
Not only does this tournament allow players to gain experience while playing in an international tournament, it also gives university athletes another focus: being recognized as a competitive team by being sanctioned by the Ontario University Athletics league.
“Our goal is to move from a rec club to a competitive club this year, and then hopefully make our way to become OUA sanctioned within the next couple of years.”
Platt is confident this goal is attainable within the next couple years.
“It is a little bit ambitious but we have been working our way pretty well towards them so far. Over the last couple of years we have grown the club in terms of size,” he said. “We have a lot of pretty talented guys and girls for the squad.”
Moreover, Platt looks to build a long-lasting relationship with the Northfield Racquet Club in hopes to be part of any other opportunity that arises.
“If we get to a point where we have players playing in this particular event and do well, then we’d like to use that as a way to push off and get into other tournaments in the area. There are a bunch all around that would be very beneficial to have the first tournament under your belt, and get your foot in the door, and it allows you to move on after that.”