West Vancouver's Lucia Bicknell blasts her way to Canada Games gold in squash

West Vancouver Squash player Lucia Bicknell led another smashing week for North Shore athletes at the Canada Winter Games, hitting the podium for a pair of medals in Red Deer, Alta.

Bicknell blasted her way to gold in women’s singles while also helping British Columbia earn silver in the women’s team competition.

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In the singles event Bicknell won her first three matches to earn a berth in the final against Ontario’s Charlotte Orcutt, the No. 1-ranked player in Canada. Early in the final it looked like Orcutt would run away with the gold after she won the first set 11-7. It was all Bicknell from there, however, as the Rockridge Secondary student ripped off three straight sets to win the match 7-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-0.

"She is a great player and I always love playing her,” Bicknell said of Orcutt. “It was kind of a slow start for me but I managed to bounce back the next one and I got the momentum up and then won the next two. I think my coach Kevin [Inouye] for that game was really great and pumped me up and reiterated what we talked about before with the game plan. It was more of a mindset change for me and the crowd was amazing cheering me on giving me the energy to get back out there and take the next one."

Bicknell said she was nervous to at the start of the match but settled down as she and her opponent traded points. "Once I calmed down I was able to hit my length and watch the shots she was making and make sure I was ready to volley and take the ball early," said Bicknell. The Evergreen Squash Club member raved about the venue and event, which was held at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre in Red Deer.

"It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me and I wouldn't trade it for the world," she said. "I always looked up to the players that got to go to the Games and hoped that one day I would get to go."

Bicknell also joined with Cindy Cao, Sarah Cao and Quan Ng, all of Richmond, to win silver in the team competition. Ontario and B.C. split their matches 2-2 in the final but Ontario claimed gold in a tie-breaker, topping B.C. in games won by the miniscule margin of 8-7.

Lucia wasn’t the only Bicknell to reach the podium at the Games. Her brother Matt Bicknell also claimed a medal, helping B.C. finish second in the men’s team competition. Bicknell joined with Sam Scivier of Vancouver and James Toth and Gavriel Yun of Richmond to make the final before losing to Ontario.

The Games wrapped up with a Closing Ceremony on Sunday in Red Deer.

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