Lawrence Park continues tennis tradition, four medals at OFSAA

Junior Hilary Kent soldiers through separated shoulder to earn silver with Simon Blasby in mixed doubles

It would not be a fault to compare Lawrence Park’s junior tennis player Hilary Kent to comic book hero Wolverine.

The two have the uncanny ability to heal very quickly after a major injury.

In this instance, Kent’s separated shoulder, received after an accident with friends, didn’t keep her from competing in the North Region mixed doubles finals, thus earning her and her partner Simon Blasby a spot in the Citys, and subsequently a trip to OFSAA.

“I have a pretty fast healing process, so I’m lucky I got to continue playing,” she said during a mid-June phone call from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “Unfortunately, with spring tennis you’re not allowed to use any of the taxi people. If I used an alternate, I wouldn’t be able to sub back in.”

So, she soldiered through the pain, with the help of Blasby positive reinforcement and coach Lindsey Wong’s added encouragement, the duo earned an OFSAA silver June 5 at the Aviva Centre in North York.

On top of the separated shoulder, which she rehabilitated with physical therapy exercise, she had strep throat.

“I never tried to argue or coach. I gave positive feedback and provided no negatives,” Blasby said.

Kent’s resilience was a testament to the spirit of the Panthers this season. The goal at the beginning of OFSAA was to get all 12 players – a tie for the most sent by the school – to the Wednesday draws to vie for medals.

“It worked. All 12 LP kids were competing for a medal of some sorts on Wednesday and came away with four of them,” Wong said. “It would have been nice to win a gold, but the kids competed hard and that’s all I can ask.”

The added challenge in 2019 for Wong and his charges was the shift of Lawrence Park to the North Region, after playing in the South.

With all 12 qualifiers for the provincials making it to Wednesday play, there was a good shot at medalling. Making the podium along with Kent and Blasby were Sophia Lindy and Aly Lowry who won silver in High School Girls Doubles, Ava and Sarah White who won bronze in the same division, as well as Kate and Abby Currie who won antique bronze in Open Girls Doubles.

The four medals matched last year’s totals.

It was bittersweet for Lindy and Lowry as the two will be moving on to university, Laurier and McGill respectively. They ended their high school careers with three straight silvers.

They wound up making the finals against a duo from Tanenbaum CHAT, Rachel Fluxman and Eden Granovsky. Unfortunately, they lost, but Lindy and Lowry are happy.

As were the Currie sisters, who played as a pair and met their old rivals, Rachel Hanford and Sarah Liu in the semis of the Open Girls Doubles division. Although they lost that match, Kate said it was their best match of the season.

Unfortunately, in the consolation round, the met their match against Amelie Gal and Niki Karol from Northern Secondary School.

Wong is hoping to keep the tradition of LPCI dominance at OFSAA going for 2020, however, he’s not sure if there will be a team given the current political climate at Queen’s Park.

“Extracurriculars is something everyone looks forward to participating in,” he said. “Education through sport is key. If we do, it looks like everything is good.”

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