Closing in on junior team goal

GLEN DAWKINS -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:59 AM ET

David Glass made it his goal to qualify for the 2006 World Junior Men's Team Championships from when he first started playing squash competitively.

Now, the 17-year-old Shaftesbury High School Grade 12 student is closing in on his goal.

"It is one of my goals to be on that team and I think I'm on that team right now," said Glass, who plays this weekend at the Manitoba Open A Championships at the Winnipeg Winter Club. "I just have to play well at the nationals."

The team selections will be made following the Junior Nationals, April 27-30 at Niagara on the Lake, Ont. The junior worlds are set for July 17-28 in New Zealand.

"It's just something I've always wanted to do: play for Canada," said Glass, the fifth-ranked junior in Canada and a member of the national junior team.

According to his coach, Glass is currently fourth in the rankings for the team with four players due to go to New Zealand.

"It's really going to come down to how he does at nationals," said provincial coach Trevor Borland. "If he's able to reach the semis or even win it, his shot would be pretty good at making the team."

Last year, Glass finished fourth in the Under-19 Boys' Singles at the junior nationals. He is coming off a second-place finish last month at the Junior Ontario Open and has been playing on the Professional Squash Association Tour since January to gain experience.

Playing with the pros has been a real eye-opener for Glass.

NO EASY MATCHES

"When you get to that level, even the lowest guys are still good squash players," said Glass, who helped Manitoba win the bronze at the 2003 Canada Winter Games and is expected to lead the Manitoba team for the 2007 Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse. "You're never really going to have any easy matches. Once you lose, you're done (from the tournament) so you don't want to lose and you put in a little bit more effort into every match."

"You've got to treat the first year or two of playing on the PSA Tour as a learning experience," said Borland. "All of the guys he is playing against are really fit, not just the top guys that he plays against in juniors. Every match turns into a grueling match. It's been good because he realizes that he has to keep up his fitness."

Fitness has often been an issue with Glass even though he doesn't seem out of shape by any means. He plays varsity volleyball and basketball at Shaftesbury and has loads of natural talent.

He just needs to take his fitness to another level.

"Natural talent only takes you so far and then it's who's working hardest," said Borland.

KIWI CONNECTION: While Glass is still working on securing a berth to the junior worlds, Borland is definitely heading to New Zealand. Last month, Squash Canada named him an apprentice coach for the junior men's team. The Winnipeg Winter Club head squash professional was an apprentice coach at the 1999 Pan Am Games, where both men's and women's teams won gold medals.

He has been actively involved with Squash Manitoba since 1997 and coached the Manitoba squad at the 2003 Canada Winter Games.


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