The SDSSAA tennis championships represented a near complete changing of the guard, with just one former champion claiming a title in 2014, and this in a different classification entirely.
Teamed with Pascale Lavergne-Giroux last May, Sebastien Dugas-Ruest made it all the way to OFSAA in the mixed doubles event. But with a slew of graduation last spring among the high school tennis elite, he decided that it was time for a change.
"I wanted to play singles this year," said Dugas-Ruest, a multi-sport talent from Collège Notre-Dame, who is also extremely adept in both soccer and basketball. "With Jason (Boudreau) gone, I thought I could do it."
Dugas-Ruest took down Lasalle junior Darren DePaolis in the final, capturing the title by a final count of 10-4. A semi-familiar face around the indoor tennis facility, the 17-year-old Grade 12 student simply falls victim to the realities of "only so much time in a day".
"I didn't play (tennis) a lot this year, but I have taken lessons and stuff," said Dugas-Ruest. "It's hard to play everything. I have a soccer game tonight. I just try and balance it."
The same predicament faces Marymount Academy Grade 11 all-around athlete Chantae Robinson, who captured the ladies singles crown with a 10-7 win over Paige Eastwood of St Charles College.
"In Jamaica, when I was in Grade 7, Grade 8, I had a passion for tennis," she said. "I would just sit and watch at lunch to see how the boys would play, to try and get some strategy from them.
"When I joined the soccer team, I put down tennis for a while."
In fact, the young lady who moved to Canada in April of 2013 is now a key cog with the Regals' soccer team, anxious to also take her shot at track and field next week.
Though it had been a few years since Robinson participated in her one and only tournament in Jamaica, she remembered well the lesson learned in that competition.
"Instead of going for the big shots, I just kept putting it over the net and hoped for the person to make a mistake."
Also putting their experience to good use, the Lasalle tandem of Kaouther Bouhedda and Marla Betts knocked off the Marymount team of Krysta Burns and Michelle Filipovic in the ladies doubles final, coming up through the bottom half of the draw and besting the Regals pair in back-to-back games.
"We're pretty much better at everything than we were a year ago," said Bouhedda, now in her second year partnered with Betts. "That team, we actually played last year and they beat us. But we thought we had a better chance because we got much better compared to last year."
In the men's doubles competition that wrapped up one day earlier, Philippe Butler and Roch Mayer of Collège Notre-Dame outlasted Adrian Kuchtaruk and Blake Wisnewski of Lockerby 8-6, with Alexie Legault and Alain Ament (CND) slipping past Alessia Pastre and Jacob Belanger (St. Charles) by the exact same score in mixed doubles play.
With NOSSA championships slated for Manitoulin Island next Thursday, the same day that wraps up the city track and field championships, as well as soccer premier division semifinals, it was uncertain how many of the Sudbury winners would necessarily pencil in tennis as their No. 1 priority.
The OFSAA tennis championships take place at the Rexall Centre in Toronto from June 2-4.
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