Bourque back with a bang
St. Albert racquetball player returns to provincials after six years and wins the 50-plus men's singles championship
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 06:00 am
Cam Bourque’s triumphant return to the provincial racquetball championship was a smashing success.
The St. Albert athlete knocked off the top two seeds in 50-plus men’s singles for the provincial title since his last appearance six years ago as the 40-plus singles consolation winner.
“It was definitely a huge accomplish,” said Bourque, a former two-time national men’s singles B division champion. “I haven’t played a whole lot of singles since the Mayfield (Inn & Suites Athletic Club) closed and it was mainly recreation doubles for myself so I was kind of surprised.”
Bourque, seeded fourth at provincials, plowed through the competition while posting wins of 15-4, 15-7 against the No. 5-seeded Jon Semeniuk of Edmonton in the quarter-finals, 15-13, 11-15, 11-0 against the No. 1-seeded Randy Pentland of Red Deer in the semifinals and 15-10, 15-12 against the No. 2-seeded Manny Gregorio of Edmonton in the April 6 final at the University of Calgary.
Pentland and Gregorio are also ranked top-10 in the bottom half provincially in men’s singles and Bourque is unranked. In the national rankings Pentland is listed 71st and Gregorio is 72nd.
“They’re very good players so to beat those guys was big. It meant a lot to me, especially at the provincial level. That was definitely a huge motivation boost,” said Bourque, who has been ranked provincially and nationally in the past.
Bourque also teamed up with Jeff Miller of Spruce Grove to place second in men’s doubles open/A consolation.
Leading up to provincials Bourque trained harder off the court than he did while sharpening his skills in singles and doubles.
“I’m getting the cobwebs off my body and I’m starting to get back into shape,” said the 53-year-old grandfather. “I was really geared up physically for the tournament. I did a lot of running and that kind of stuff and not really training with the racquetball part of it because quite honestly we don’t have the facility here in St Albert (with one court in Fountain Park Recreation Centre) so I really hadn’t been playing a whole lot of singles matches prior to going into it.”
The difference between Bourque’s last provincials and this year’s competition was fitness.
“The players didn’t change from my standpoint because they were always good players but personally just getting into shape and really doing a lot of running was the big change for me and once I was able to compete physically I was able to beat these guys that I normally wouldn’t have in the past,” said Bourque, who also plays out of the Kinsmen facility in downtown Edmonton and is anxious to test out a new fitness club with three courts when it opens in west Edmonton.
After his provincial breakthrough Bourque is deciding whether to take time off from work to attend nationals, May 18 to 24 in Brossard, Quebec.
“Nationals would be huge. To go there and compete again would be very satisfying,” said the communications consultant for Nutec Electro Tel and owner/president of Toner World.
Bourque developed a 31-year love affair with racquetball after graduating from high school in Prince Albert, Sask.
“It’s just one of those kind of sports where you can pick up the racquet and you can play at any level and you can get really good at it,” he said. “It’s also physically demanding. It’s ranked in the top five for workouts in sports, right behind cross-country and boxing.
“It’s also very satisfying, especially when you can do your first kill shot. It’s like a knockout punch in boxing. It’s the ultimate put away shot. It’s the same kind of feeling when you make your first slap shot in hockey.”
The right-handed hitter describes himself as a “feel player” who adapts his game to that of his opponent.
“That’s always been my strength. If I find an opponent’s weakness I’ll expose it,” he said. “I guess after playing 30 years of racquetball you don’t kind of lose it, it’s part of you.”