Eighty-Second Howe Cup Draws Record Turnout

New York squashers in uniform at the Howe Cup.

New York squashers in uniform at the Howe Cup.

Howe Cup Draws
A record fifty teams and two hundred and fifty women contested what was the largest U.S. Women’s Team Squash Championships to date this weekend at Harvard’s Murr Center.

The Howe Cup brings women of all ages and skill levels from across the country (and Canada) together for a fun, inclusive weekend of squash. With four Skill levels titles available everyone has a chance of winning.

A division champions: Philly Annihilators.

A division champions: Philly Annihilators.

The ‘Philly Annihilators’ featuring some of the country’s best female players, did just that to the competition to earn the tournament’s top honors in the A division, dropping just one individual match along the way to the title.

In the B division, the ‘Fairfield County Flash—Yellow’ upset the number two seeds ‘NYCFC’ in the final, this team winning its second title in 3 years.

‘Boston Knows Howe’ topped the three-team playoff round robin in the C division, winning both matches 4-1, with ‘Boston Lobsters’ and ‘Maple Dlites’ finishing in second and third respectively.

The ‘Back Bay D-Vas’ are the D division champions, defeating the ‘NY Jets’ 3-2 in a tense round robin playoff. They are the first winners of the Kathy Goertzen Cup, generously donated by Shabana Khan for the winners of this division.

“Once again an incredible atmosphere at the Murr Centre, ” said Kim Clearkin, Tournament Director. “It was so exciting to see so many women of all ages and abilities connecting on and off the court. This competition transcends just match play.”

The revered Saturday night party took place at the Boston Aquarium where the Feron’s Wedgwood Sportsmanship Trophy and Women’s Achievement Bowl were presented to surprise winners, Mona Butterfield and AJ Copeland respectively. Both Butterfield and Copeland are active in National Capital Squash. Despite continued knee problems which now keep Mona away from actual competition, Mona can be relied on to rally the D.C. beginners to participate in Howe Cup. An emotional Butterfield, on receiving her award, admitted how many feel—Squash is her life and injury will not stop her from being part of the action.

AJ and Mona

Women’s Achievement Bowl recipient AJ Copeland (left) and Feron’s Wedgewood Sportsmanship Trohpy recipient Mona Butterfield at the Boston Aquarium during the Saturday night party.

Copeland, an extremely popular winner of the Achievement Award this year, has lead the D.C. women’s community for over ten years and also has served as co-chair of the Women’s committee for the last six. Completely blindsided this year, Copeland’s heartfelt speech encapsulated the feelings of many, “Squash has given me so much more than I have ever given squash, not least of all because of the dear friends I have made through the sport.”

“Howe Cup truly represents the essence of the sport, ” said Beth Rasin, a veteran of the tournament.

“Where the playing is more important than the winning; where the participants appreciate a competitor who can push her to her limits; where lifelong friendships are nourished; and where the Saturday night dancing flushes the lactic acid from Friday and Saturday matches in preparation for the final showdowns on Sunday.”

The Howe Cup, the United States’ largest squash event for women, has a long history. The annual women’s five-person team tournament first began in 1928 as an inter-city competition between New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. This year, saw strong representation from all corners of the U.S., including first-time participants from Chicago, NUSEA teams drawing from multiple programs, and StreetSquash and SquashBusters teams.

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