Hodgins on top of the world again
For the second straight year, Duncan's Lindsay Hodgins is the top junior ladies horseshoe player in the world.
The 17-year-old, who plays with the Ladysmith Horseshoe Club and with the Victoria Horseshoe Club ladies' league, recently returned from Buffalo, New York, where she won the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association (NHPA) World Tournament.
The world championship is a round-robin tournament, and 36 juniors competed this year. They were ranked according to their ringer percentage, and the girls and boys were mixed in the first round, explained Lindsay's grandfather, Wayne Hodgins.
After the first round, the top six girls — based on average — advanced to play for the world championship title.
Lindsay went in ranked first and ended up winning the tournament, just like last year, when she won her first world championship in St. George, Utah, after being ranked first. Last year, Lindsay became the first pitcher from B.C. to claim a world title and the third Canadian girl to win in the last 50 years.
Lindsay says she was kind of surprised to win the World Tournament for a second straight year.
"It was tougher this year than last year," noted Wayne.
Lindsay agreed, noting it was tough because the second-ranked girl, a pitcher from Ontario, was there this year, and the tournament was on clay and raised.
The 2014 NHPA World Tournament is the latest addition to a long list of victories for Lindsay, who graduated from Cowichan Secondary School this past spring.
She won the Canadian championship two years ago and has won the Island Championships for the past three years, the B.C. championships for the past two years and the International Tournament in the past two years.
This year, Lindsay has already won the Island Championship, the World Tournament and the International Tournament. In two weeks, she's heading off to compete in the Canadian Championships in Calgary, and later in August, she'll compete in the B.C. Championships in Cloverdale.
Last year, she didn't go to the Canadian Championships, so this year will be the first time she has the chance to win all five tournaments, explained Wayne.
Lindsay is currently ranked top in B.C. out of any horseshoe player of any gender or age, and she is ranked second in Horseshoe Canada's ladies' rankings, according to Wayne.
Lindsay is feeling confident leading up to the Canadian and B.C. championships.
Wayne says Lindsay is always looking forward to her next tournament and can't wait to get out there.
"She just waits to play the next one," he said.
Since April, Lindsay has only gone one weekend without a tournament.
Lindsay has been playing against ladies all year, not juniors, and she says that has helped her a lot.
Lindsay has autism, and Wayne believes horseshoes makes a big difference.
"It's really opened her up," he said. "Even when it's over, she doesn't want to go home."
The Hodginses have a horseshoe pit at home, and Lindsay throws about 250 shoes a day, practising for at least an hour each day, sometimes up to three.
When asked what she likes about horseshoes, Lindsay says it's the travelling and meeting people.
"Another reason she likes it is because it is what she does herself that counts," added Wayne, explaining that with Lindsay's autism, a solo sport like this where she relies on herself is more suitable than a team sport.
Right now, Lindsay has a 65 per cent average, meaning about six out of 10 shoes are ringers every time, which Wayne describes as "very good."
Wayne says he enjoys watching his granddaughter very much, partly because he's semi-retired and this gets him out on the horseshoe pitch.
"I feel good for her," he said. "It's helping her."
Lindsay will turn 18 this December, and both Lindsay and Wayne say she'll continue to compete once she's too old to compete as a junior.