Stellar year of squash for Coffs Harbour juniors

Coffs Harbour Junior Squash players enjoying a stellar year. (L-R) Jaida Wigley, Dylan Wigley, Bodhi Wratten, Eden Poulava, Cleo Poulava and Jayden Sparks.

KORORA Squash Club, based out of the Coffs Harbour Squash And Swim Centre, has had an outstanding year, achieving remarkable success at both state and national levels in 2023.

During their final road trip of the season, five players returned triumphantly from the 2023 Squash NSW Junior Country Championships in Cootamundra with a swag of trophies.

All five players showcased their skills by reaching the semifinals, with Jayden Sparks clinching victory in the Boys under 15s category, and Cleo Poulava securing the Girls under 13s title.

Both players displayed resilience, with Jayden overcoming a 2-0 deficit through strategic adjustments to win the match 3-2.

Cleo fought back from being 2-1 down, ultimately defeating her Coffs Harbour teammate Jaida Wigley in a nail-biting 3-2 final.

Eden Poulava and Dylan Wigley both secured respectable fourth-place finishes, earning valuable national junior ranking points.

As the 2023 season concluded, the Coffs Harbour players continued to make their mark on the national stage.

Jaida Wigley claimed the second spot in the Australian rankings, while teammate Cleo Poulava, who has just aged up, secured the eighth position in the Girls under 13s.

Eden Poulava earned seventh and Jada Poulava 25th in the Girls under 17s.

Bodhi Wratten secured fifth position in the Boys under 11s rankings with Lachlan Walmsley placing 14th in the Boys under 19s.

Jayden Sparks and Dylan Wigley finished the season ranked 18 and 33 respectively in the Boys under 15s.

Coffs Harbour coach and NSW Head Junior Coach Jemma Wratten has been a literal driving force behind the team’s success, emphasising the importance of road trips to gain tournament experience.

“We encourage our juniors to participate in lots of tournaments, being a regional club we have to travel more but we normally travel as a group which has its own merits.

“The players have created friendships, we get to see lots of different places in Australia and meet new people.

“All of the tournament players play in our adult senior competitions on Tuesday and Thursday, but it’s hard to replicate that tournament feeling without entering competitions and playing new players,” she said.

Following the International Olympic Committee’s decision to include squash in the 2028 Olympics now is a good time for the juniors to craft their skills.

“The squash community is on a high after the sport has been included in the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

“Now is the perfect time for juniors to be playing and working on improving their game.”

Looking ahead to 2024, Wratten outlined ambitious plans with state and national events on the horizon.

“2024 is going to be a big year, we are going to Parkes for four days in January for the Western Junior Open and a State Camp.

“April 2024 is going to be massive with two back-to-back platinum events in Melbourne, the Australian Junior Open followed by the Oceania Junior Championships,” Wratten said.

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