If there is any certainty in life, Kaitlyn Watts should emerge as the national champion at the New Zealand junior squash championships which start in Palmerston North on Thursday.
The tiny 11-year-old from Ross Intermediate School seldom loses, is already a B2-grader and recently won the North Island under-13 title at Hamilton. She is the top seed in the under-13s this week with Ruby Turnbull of Christchurch her closest challenger.
Watts did get pipped at Tawa last weekend, though, but that was to an older B1 player and this week she is on her home court where she is especially tenacious.
While Watts loves her squash, she also plays in the midfield for the Manawatu under-13 football reps.
The tournament will have individual events for the first three days and teams events from Monday until Wednesday next week.
Watts and Courtney Trail (C1) are in the four-member Central girls' team and Regan Smith (A2) and NZ development squad member Luke Jones (B2) are in the boys' team. Both teams are rebuilding and will be strong in two years.
Also in the boys' team are Palmerston North's Sam Nash and Ashley Petterson and Rangitikei's Jake Tasker. The others in the girls team are Emily Nash and Dominique Watts.
They are among 26 Palmerston North players in the field of 221 for the event which was last held in Palmerston North in 2008. Wellington provide many of the top-seeded players.
Smith is the eighth seed in the under-19s. He was third in the North Island championships at Hamilton but the three New Zealand team players were away then and they will be playing this week. Smith is likely to encounter the top seed, Zac Miller of Wellington.
Palmerston North's Corbin Faint (C1) won the AIMS Games for intermediate schools at Tauranga and is ninth seed in the under-15s. He moves up an age group after winning the North Island under-13s and Jones, who hails from Pahiatua and boards at Palmerston North Boys' High School, is eighth seed in the under 17s.
Annaleise Faint is a chance of reaching the final in the under 11s, seeded third, as is newcomer Courtney Trail who will be solid in the under-11s where Watts rules. Watts and Trail met in the final of the AIMS Games.
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