Oakville native Hollie Naughton went ‘on trial’ this past weekend and the verdict was in her favour. The 19-year-old was able to grab one of three spots available as the National Squash Academy hosted the Women’s National Team Selection Trials to select players for the Shop.ca Women’s World Team Squash Championship, Dec. 1 -6 at White Oaks Resort & Spa in Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON.
Naughton, who just last week reached the final of her first Women’s Squash Association World Tour event the Nash Cup in London, ON, is a former Canadian Junior Champion and was part of the fifth place Canadian Team at the 2013 World Junior Team Championship in Poland. She is also ranked No. 4 in Canada and No. 71 in the world on the WSA world rankings.
“It feels good to make the world team as I’ve never played at such a prestigious event before,” said a relieved Naughton. “Especially as it’ll be In front of friends and family. It’s a great boost for my confidence as I have had some disappointing results and it feels good coming out on top finally”.
Also qualifying were Nicole Todd and Danielle Letourneau.
Todd, 24 of Regina, Saskatchewan won Pool B with a perfect 4-0 record. She becomes the first player from Saskatchewan to represent Squash Canada at the Senior World Team Squash Championship.
Todd is ranked No. 3 in Canada and No. 75 in the world on the WSA rankings.
Letourneau, 21, won Pool A. She is a senior at Cornell University and captain of the university squash team and holds a No. 6 ranking in the U.S. College Squash Association rankings. Letourneau, who reached the finals of the Canadian Squash Championships this past May in Edmonton as an unseeded player, is one of the top prospects on the Canadian Team, having recently finished with three medals at the Pan American Squash Championships (bronze in singles; silver in team; and bronze in doubles).
World No. 30 and Team Canada captain Samantha Cornett of Deep River, ON will lead the team. Cornett, one of the rising stars on the WSA world tour, is a two-time Canadian singles champion and was a 2011 singles silver medalist at the Pan American Games. This past September, Cornett reached the finals of the Pan American Squash Championship where she lost to Mexico’s Samantha Teran 3-1 in the final.
Cornett, Letourneau, Todd and Naughton finished second to the U.S. in the team event, losing 2-1 in the final. Earlier this year Cornett reached Round 16 at the World Open singles championship in Malaysia.
One of Squash Canada’s greatest female players, Melanie Jans of Georgetown, ON and the current Squash Director at Club Meadowvale in Mississauga will be responsible for the team.
Squash Canada’s Executive Director Danny Da Costa, who is also the Championship Director for the Women’s World Team Squash Championship, said, “Although we are sending a very young team….our girls have tremendous potential for success. I think the world will soon take notice of the excellent work being done in Canada by our Performance Director Jamie Hickox, our national coaches and the Centre of Excellence staff including former world No.1 Jonathon Power who are working hard to restore Canada to the forefront of world squash”.
The Shop.ca Women’s World Team Squash Championship is the pinnacle women’s event on the international squash calendar. Held every two years, this year’s event will feature nine of the top 10 players in the world and the best female squash players from 20 countries from six continents will take part. Canada is hosting the event for only the fourth time.