Thompson-born Jennifer Saunders, who learned to play racquetball at the Thompson Recreation Centre under the tutelage of Stu Jobe, is once again at the pinnacle of the Canadian racquetball scene, having captured her third women's national championship and sixth doubles title, with partner Josée Grand'Maître, at the Canadian National Racqetball Championships in Edmonton, Alta. May 23.
"I have been in nine straight singles finals and have only won three times now," Saunders, who left Thompson to attend university at age 18, wrote in an email. "Each time has been amazing for different reasons. It is the most important tournament of the year for me and an honour to be a national champion. Winning doubles is fun but nothing compares to singles."
In the singles final, Saunders faced the current Canadian Junior champion Frédérique T. Lambert. Saunders won in two games, 15-10, 15-8, but both were close early. In fact, Lambert had an early lead in game one at 5-1, only to see Saunders come back and go ahead 10-6.
In doubles, Saunders and Grand'Maître won their sixth title together by defeating the team that beat them last year - Genevieve Brodeur and Véronique Guillemette - 15-7, 17-15.
Saunders, the executive director of Racquetball Manitoba, also won both singles and doubles crowns in 2005.
In all 23 Manitobans competed in Edmonton, and there were two other national champions.