Hordyski shines at world juniors

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Racquetball player reaches quarter-finals in singles and doubles

Logan Hordyski continues to make a lot of racquet on the world stage for Team Canada.

Competing at his third IRF World Junior Racquetball Championships, the Grade 12 student at St. Albert Catholic High School made it as far as the quarter-finals in singles and doubles in the U16 division.

“It wasn’t bad. I thought I played really well,” Hordyski said. “I guess I was able to put my name out there with the best of them.”

The Dec. 15 to 20 junior worlds at Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic featured approximately 237 players from 15 countries, including 14 Canadians from five provinces. Hordyski’s doubles partner was Kevin Caouette from Millwoods. They teamed up at the 2006 junior worlds in Phoenix, Ariz. in the U14 division and would have been partners in U16 doubles when worlds was held in Bolivia but Hordyski elected not to attend the event.

“It’s definitely easier playing in worlds having been there before. You somewhat know a lot of the players you’re playing against. You’ve played them before and you know how they play and what they do,” Hordyski said. “If you haven’t been to worlds before, you have no idea what the tournament is about and you don’t know what to expect. That first game you get really nervous because a lot of people are watching and you’re not really used to it. After that you kind of break off that shakiness and go from there.”

In singles Hordyski’s only loss was in the quarter-finals against Daniel De La Rosa of Mexico by identical 15-6 scores in the best-of-three match.

“I like to hit the ball hard and I kind of like to set the pace and the guy I was playing against was really lazy. He didn’t do anything powerful so he got me out of my game and then I lost because of that. I wasn’t mentally tough enough so that one kind of got me the maddest and upset me the most,” Hordyski said. “It kind of gives me an idea of what I need to do in the future and that’s get mentally tough. You have to tell yourself you’re going to win and then you will.”

In pool play Hordyski posted wins against Antonio Deleon of the Dominican Republic (15-4, 15-1), Sean Keane of Ireland (8-15, 15-6, 11-0) and Sebastian Pena of Ecuador (15-4, 15-11).

In the playoff bracket in the round of 32, Hordyski knocked off Jose Otaolaurruchi of Guatemala 15-4, 15-1. He went on to beat Daniel Chaverri of Costa Rica 15-13, 15-8 before bowing out in the round of eight.

In doubles the Hordyski/Caouette tandem went undefeated in pool play with sweeping victories against Ireland and Honduras. In the playoff round of 16 the Canadians defeated the Dominican Republic 15-3, 15-0 and in the quarter-finals fell 15-5, 15-9 to the Bolivian duo that included the U16 singles champion, Carlos Keller Vargas.

“I thought we played really, really good in doubles,” said Hordyski, who is equally adept at singles or doubles. “I can play both as good as I want to. I find it easier to hit the shots needed in doubles because I know for sure my partner has got my back on some other shots so I can get into better position. In singles you kind of have to move around and know everything that’s going on.”

Quick learner

Hordyski got hooked on the sport at age 10 while growing up in Saskatchewan and over the years has been one of the very best in his age division.

“It’s a really fun game. It’s fast paced and I just kind of fell in love with it,” he said. “You meet a lot of really cool people and I’ve developed a ton of friendships all over the world.”

The learning curve wasn’t so steep once Hordyski discovered all the ins and outs of the game.

“When you first start out it’s kind of hard but once you kind of know how it’s played it’s great,” he said. “When you practice when you first start playing, you learn the basics of your stroke mechanics and core positioning and then after a few years you know everything you need to know, it’s just how you use it and everything from there is pretty much mental.”

The five-foot-seven righty is noted for his forehand and power.

“Definitely my drive serve is the strongest part of my game. It’s an aggressive serve,” he said. “Anything to do with my forehand is another big part of my game.”

Hordyski’s vast skill set has enabled him to compile some impressive accomplishments through a variety of provincial and national honours in the U12, U14 and U16 categories. At the worlds in U14 he finished 16th in singles and doubles.

“My goal for the upcoming year is to get to the courts as much as possible. It’s going to be my first year in U18 and my draw at nationals is going to be really tough but I’m going to try and get top two and make the Canadian team again. I’m also going to try and win provincials. If I’m successful with all of that, I want to finish top three at worlds next year,” said Hordyski, 17, who perfects his craft at the Mayfield Inn & Suites Athletic Club.

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About Author

Jeff Hansen

Jeff Hansen joined the St. Albert Gazette in 1991. He writes about sports, athletes and teams from St. Albert and area.