Wednesday, February 15, 2012


When I was informed the tournament this year would be the weekend after the Super Bowl, I was very relieved. There was no way I was not going to watch the football, but I didn’t relish the idea of forcing myself to stay awake with scotch tape on my eye-lids to do it. I also believe that most players prefer it too. The feedback was all positive and it was proven in the registrations. Player capacity was reached 10 days before the deadline – a definite luxury as an organizer.

The support from our friends in London grows from year to year. Incredibly, they had the most representatives with 32. Windsor came a close second with 28. We love hosting the Canadians for the weekend, they are delightfully social, first-rate drinkers, and even better squash players. It is getting tough to schedule, however. If more Londonites enter next year, some may find themselves playing on Thursday night. I sincerely hope they can accommodate…

We ended up with 37 doubles matches and 192 singles matches over the 4 days. Results are as follows:
Anil Kathuria and Chuck Doyle

2.5 draw – A DAC winner in this category was virtually guaranteed. There were only 4 non-members in the draw and they were all women from London. I know that sounds a little harsh and sexist, but by sheer weight of numbers the odds were with us. None of the ladies reached the quarter finals, although they definitely get the prizes for best dressed and best technique and Cheryl Mayer also gets the runner-up prize for the best dancer on Saturday. (The first prize goes to my daughter! Rob Doherty gets the prize for best use of a dining chair on the dance floor and Michael Jackson impression…) 

Chuck Doyle and Anil Kathuria were the 2 left standing by Sunday afternoon. They had only dropped one game between them on their path to the final. Chuck was in the same position in 2011. He lost that final as was determined to go one better this year. He did, but not without having to play all 5 games. He eventually tired Anil out in the 5th to earn the title.

Josh Slominski
3.0 draw – In this draw, we also had heavy numbers on our side. So it was also not surprising to see 8 DAC members reach the quarter finals here. Three quarter finals ended up 3-0, the fourth 3-2 where Chip McDaniel knocked out the 2008 3.0 winner Walter Fisher. The two semi finals on Sunday morning also went to 5 games. Chip marched to a 2-0 lead over Sante Fratarcangeli before the weekend started to catch up with him. It was Chip’s 4th match of the event and the muscle soreness was kicking in rather nicely. Sante smelled blood and stormed back to win the match 3-2. As disappointed as Chip was, he was also relieved he did not have to play another match that day. The other semi was a real nail-biter. Josh Slominski was 2-0 up over Tom Fabbri when Tom started to establish a much better length and thereby much better control of the ‘T’. He evened it to 2 games each and then bought himself 4 match-balls at 10-6 in the 5th. But Josh kept his composure very well and extended the game to a tie-break where he eventually took it 15-13. I didn’t get to see the final, but on paper it seemed pretty even since both players had taxing 5-setters that morning. I am presuming the match was arduous when the 3-1 score line was reported back and I am also presuming that since Josh won he won’t be feeling the aches and pains as much as Sante! 

3.5 draw – Once again, the biggest draw of the event. It now starts to get very difficult for our members to complete successfully from this level onwards. Most of the outside participation start to show their skills a little more prominently. We did however have 2 semi-finalists. Chris Van Tol won his first two matches 3-1 before coming up against the lone entrant from Grand Rapids, Jake Chapman. A resilient competitor, Jake had a grueling 5 set win over Seth Rogers (who isn’t a member anywhere, but should be one here…Seth?!) and was too good for Chris this particular Sunday morning taking him down 3-0. His finals opponent was Fermin Fernandez from Franklin. Fermin also had a very demanding run to get to this stage. A 3-2 win in round 1 was followed up by another 3-2 win in round 2, and then two 3-1 wins in the quarters and semis. I watched the final few points of the match as Fermin’s wife was having a heart attack from the nerves as she watched her husband win 3-1. I think she almost fell off her chair twice. Fermin’s smile was almost as wide as Srini Krishnamoorthy’s afterwards who had nothing to do with this match, but is forever smiling anyway!

4.0 draw – Cue the Canadians. Only 2 of our 6 players reached the quarter finals of this category. The semis involved 2 Londonites, 1 fellow from Windsor and Andrew Pritchard from the BAC. Andrew lost 3-1 to Marcus Plowright (London) who happened to win his first match 12-10 in the 5th, and his second match 13-11 in the 5th. Meeting Marcus in the final was his buddy club member Martin Langdale. Martin had only dropped one game to get there (to Scott Adlhoch in the second round), and he continued his dominance against Marcus. The 3-0 score was not indicative of the closeness of the match, however. All three games were decided by 2 points: 13-11, 11-9, 15-13. I apologize to Martin for the sandy taste he experienced drinking out of his winning stein. The bag broke.

4.5 draw – It was a good day for Life Time Fitness member Jason Heywood with a victory in the category, taking the final over David Suelzle from London 3-0. Jason dropped two games in the event – one to Dean Lansens (Windsor) in round 2 and one to Gary Sullivan (London) in the semi. Gary requested I place him and Jon Anderson on separate sides of the draw so they could have an all-out battle to the death in the final. Jon lost the quarter final to our Ryan Bendzinski in 5. I guess we’ll have to wait until 2013 to witness that pleasure.

5.0 draw – The biggest 5.0 draw we have ever had, it was logically also the most competitive. Last year’s winner Brian Porter (Windsor) received the rough end of the pineapple with the draw when his first match was against Mike Blythe from London. Mike won 3-0 and immediately became the player to beat in the event. His toughest test came in the next round playing Ali Somani from Windsor as Ali pushed him to 5 games but couldn’t quite close the deal. A 3-0 pasting over a hazy Andrew Caille (Windsor) in the semi on Sunday morning had Mike in the final. There he met another Windsor player in Kevin Furmanek. Kevin went quietly about his business, also receiving his toughest test in his second match winning that in 5 close games before beating last year’s finalist John Rakolta 3-0 in the semi. However, he was not able to counter the steady and intelligent play of Mike in the final. Mike took the match 3-0, looking in control for most of the encounter.

5.5 draw – The big boys. For a second year running, we had repeat finalists. And for a second year running, we had the same winner. And, for a second year running, we had the same score. Brad Hanebury (London) managed to keep 2-time winner Mark Eugeni (Windsor) at bay just enough with an 11-9 in the 5th victory. Both Mark and Brad reached the final with relative ease, but with the up and coming youngsters such as Michael Snower (BAC) and Stefan Houbtchev (Windsor) starting to win matches in that division, their days of ruling the 5.5 roost may be numbered.

Doubles C – You can’t beat experience. Really. I mean, who is going to stop the veteran London pairing of Lindsay Smith and his lovely wife Anne in this category? Not even Renka Gesing and Syd Strom could manage it, although they did win one game in the final. It was Lindsay and Anne’s second title in a row – and they also won it in 2009. We’ll no doubt see them here in 2013 for more hardware!
Lindsay and Anne Smith

Doubles B – The poor McKittrick brothers. They must feel like the Buffalo Bills. For the fourth time, they have reached a final of a doubles category at the DAC Classic, and for the fourth time, they have come up short. This time it was a 5-set loss to the London team of Marcus Plowright and Tom Panabaker. Marcus and Tom didn’t have it easy either. They won their second round 18-16 in the 5th over Chris Boden and Martin Langdale also from London. I guess we’ll also see the McKittrick’s next year. They will probably keep on playing until they win one!

Doubles A – No surprises here. For the winner in any case. Jon Uffelman (BAC) and Mark Eugeni (Windsor) powered their way to a third title without too much trouble. I was a little surprised at their finals opponents in John Seidel (Toledo) and Rob Graves (Franklin) who beat the London team of Rob Doherty and Caleb Quinlan 3-1 in the semi final. Not that John and Rob are pushovers. I have been on court with them before and have been on a bad end of a thrashing, but Rob and Caleb have won this tournament and I did pick them to reach the final. However, no excuse, but I don’t think Rob slept very well the night before.

Socially, I don’t think anyone could admit to not enjoying themselves. Just ask Srini Krishnamoorthyopolouswangchungsmithklein. The permanent smile plastered across his face no matter what is going on around him, his blinding white teeth, just makes you happy to be alive. Friends were made, beer was consumed (eh, Rob Doherty?), Mike Counsman was true to form, the lead singer of the live band busted a few moves on the dance floor to get the crowd going along with the outstanding music, we had dirty dancing, amazing food, pretty girls, exciting squash… what more could you ask for?

So there you have it. A big thank you to all the DAC staff who helped out behind the scenes: catering, housekeeping, hotel, kitchen staff including the chefs and waiters, and a special mention to Ernest Jordan and his Men’s Locker Room staff, Blerta, Tiffany, Illene, and of course Rob Barr. The praise from the players about you was nothing but tremendous. Not forgetting our sponsors either – without them, we wouldn’t be running the thing at all. There is a good chance that next year will be the same weekend – the one after the Super Bowl – so pencil it (lightly) in your calendar. And no, I am not yet taking registrations.

For all the category results, please click: DAC Classic Tournament Results 

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