Gunning for spot in final

GLEN DAWKINS -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:09 AM ET

Michael Burgess has a simple goal for the Canadian Junior Racquetball Championships next month in Winnipeg: reach the boys 18-and-under singles final.

Of course, that's easier said than done.

"I'm looking to make it to the finals to make the national team," said the 17-year-old from Brandon, who won the boys 18-and-under singles crown at the Racquetball Manitoba Junior Championships Saturday at the downtown YMCA-YWCA.

"There's some tough competition, so that's what I'm shooting for. Of course, I want to win, but that's my goal (reaching the final)."

A bronze medallist at the 2004 World Junior Championships in December, Burgess won both the boys 16-and-under singles and doubles crowns at last year's Canadian juniors. But this is the Vincent Massey High School Grade 12 student's first year in the 18 and under division.

Burgess sewed up the provincial crown with a 15-13, 15-17, 11-4 victory over top seed Wade Shadlock, also of Brandon, in the final game of the boys 18-and-under round robin. With the provincial championships serving as the qualifier for the Canadian juniors, players were required to play in only those events for which they are eligible at the nationals. As a result, there were smaller fields in most events requiring round robins as opposed to the normal tournament set up.

Shadlock finished second and also qualified for the Canadian juniors.

"Wade played very well," said Burgess, who teamed up with his 2004 Canadian junior 16-and-under doubles championship partner Scott Campbell of Brandon to win the provincial boys 18-and-under doubles title. "He's a very good competitor. That will get me ready for nationals for sure."

Campbell won the boys 16-and-under singles, beating out Alex McCormick, also of Brandon.

Meanwhile, Lindsay Waters got past fellow Winnipegger Cheryl Woodward to claim the girls 18-and-under singles title.

The Canadian Junior Championships will be held April 25-30 at the University of Winnipeg Duckworth Centre and Broadview Fitness.

Seventeen-year-old Waters has played racquetball since she was 12 but only got serious about the sport over the last three years.

"My dad got me started in the sport and Jen (Saunders, Racquetball Manitoba program co-ordinator and national team member) and Ron (Brown, Racquetball Canada executive director and national team head coach) made me improve," said Waters, a Grade 12 student at College Louis Riel.

Waters has beaten former national junior team member Alicia Reid from Brandon twice this season, with wins over her in the Manitoba Open in November and the Keystone Classic last month.

"I've been working really hard to improve my game since July," said Waters.

Next up on the Racquetball Manitoba calendar is the Western Canadian Team Challenge, April 8-10 in Regina, and the Racquetball Manitoba provincial championships, April 14-17 in Brandon.

GIVE IT A SHOT: The Racquetball Manitoba Junior Championships were part of the various activities and events being held across Canada to celebrate National Racquetball Week, March 11-20, under the theme of "Give It A Shot."


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