Riley Sommerville is off to Minneapolis for the 2017 world junior racquetball championships, which run Nov. 5 to 11. The 12-year-old earned her spot with Canada’s junior national team despite being two years younger than the competition. Dan Ferguson Langley Times

Ready to make a ‘racquet’ for Canada

Langley’s Riley Sommerville representing Canada at world junior racquetball championships

Make no mistake about it, Riley Sommerville does not like to lose, nor does she expect to.

Sure, Sommerville may say all the right things about how she is excited for the opportunity to represent Canada and use this is a learning experience since she is younger than her competition.

But mention winning and losing, and the 12-year-old’s face breaks into a big smile when that topic is broached.

“If you go on that court thinking you are going to lose, you probably are,” she explained.

Sommerville, a Grade 8 student at Yorkson Creek Middle School, is off to Minneapolis this week where she will represent Canada at the world junior racquetball championships, which run Nov. 5 to 11.

Sommerville earned her spot on Team Canada after finishing second in the U14 division at the Canadian junior national championships back in April in Ontario.

She also won the U12 title, but Team Canada was only sending a squad to the junior world championships for the U14, U16 and U18 divisions.

And Sommerville nearly never made it to her top-two finish — she lost to Quebec’s Juliette Parent, who will now be her partner for doubles at the upcoming championships — after losing the first set in the semifinal match and then being two points away from elimination before rallying for victory.

That come-from-behind victory is a snapshot of Sommerville’s overall demeanour on the court, according to her coach.

“Her level of competitiveness — she doesn’t get down on herself and really fights hard,” said Eric Urteaga, when asked what stands out about Sommerville.

“She is just really enthusiastic, (has a) great attitude and is a really good competitor and she maintains that positive attitude throughout the match.”

When Urteaga began coaching Sommerville a few years back at the Newlands Golf and Country Club, her athleticism was already evident as was her hand-eye co-ordination, a skill essential to success in racquetball.

“And her fundamentals, swing, game play and strategy, and how to compete, have all really evolved over the last year and a half,” he added.

“This will be a great building experience for the future (and) I think she the talent to go really far.

“It is just a matter of getting that experience and dedicating herself to continue working hard at it.”

While some young teens may shy away from pressure, Sommerville embraces it.

“I play better when I am under pressure (and) I like it when people watch me play,” she said.

“Right now I am going for the experience, but I really want to win. I want to finish as high as I can,” she said.

She gets her competitive nature from her grandfather, Larry Oakley, who also introduced her to the sport.

The pair will play occasionally but Sommerville says her grandfather doesn’t go easy on her.


sports@langleytimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

VIDEO: Snowfall’s timing perfect for young sledders

Langley kids made the most of a district-wide pro-d day on Friday

Langley work crews prep for significant dump of snow

Work underway to keep roads as clear and safe as possible

Rivermen’s Bernard a nominee for top d-man

Langley’s Colin Bernard has been a steadying presence on Rivermen blue-line

TransLink says 28 new Skytrain cars to arrive early

The cars for the Expo and Millennium lines will now be delivered three years earlier

UPDATE: 10-20 cm of snow expected Friday in Lower Mainland

Snowfall warning in effect from North Shore mountains out to Hope

Therapy dogs make appearance at B.C. Games

The St. John’s Ambulance therapy dog program launches a pilot project at the 2018 Kamloops B.C. Winter Games

Sticking the landing at the B.C. Games

Gymnasts talk competition, B.C. Winter Games, and teamwork in Kamloops

$153M in federal cash to fund child care, education training in B.C.

Bilateral agreement will create 1,370 new infant and toddler spaces

A B.C. woman talks her life in the sex trade

A view into the life from one Kelowna prostitute and the issues it can cause for women

Twitter feed prays for — instead of preying on — B.C. MLAs

Non-partisan Christian group wants to support politicians through personalized prayer

Guards hold noon-hour protest over prison safety

Number of inmates, attacks on officers, increasing says union

UPDATE: At least two hospitalized after plane leaves runway at Abbotsford Airport

Incident occurred around noon on Friday; Transport Canada investigating

Hundreds march for justice in death of Winnipeg teen

Tina Fontaine was pulled from a river in 2014, her body wrapped in a blanket and weighed down by rocks

Most Read