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

Kodiaks captain who championed the PJHL is back, this time as head coach

Aldergrove’s Chris Price, 30, returns to his hometown to lead the team once again

Former Langley resident ‘bounces around genres’ with death-pop record

Skeleton Club releases debut album Death, Love & Money.

Provincial award proves that local motivational speaker is not your average Joe

Langley resident Joe Roberts earns Medal of Good Citizenship, one of 18 recipients in B.C.

Langley literacy group spends $11,000 on new books for kids at Christmas bureau

Bureau’s Gifts for Kids tree is no longer at Willowbrook mall

Operation Red Nose Surrey-Langley could close for rest of season due to lack of volunteers

Organizers say they are struggling to keep up with high call numbers and long wait times

VIDEO: Brookswood lights up Langley with holiday festivities Friday evening

Celebrations bring together many people to enjoy the spirit of the season

Province sues over sailing incident that killed teen with disabilities

Gabriel Pollard, 16, died from injuries after marine lift failed

Hope’s illicit drug death rate rivals Vancouver

Small Fraser Valley district listed among top five per capita in B.C.

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

15-year-old charged following threat to South Surrey high school

Police announce pair of teens arrested for Nov. 14 incident at Elgin Park Secondary

TransLink CEO ‘hopeful’ SkyTrain shutdown can be averted with last-minute deal

No extra buses will be on the roads if strike goes ahead

Chilliwack family’s therapy dog injured in hit and run

Miniature pit bull Fifty’s owner is a single mother facing close to $10,000 in vet bills

Cougar destroyed in Penticton area after mauling dog, killing cat

This is the first reported incident with a cougar this year in the Penticton area

Most Read