Dear US Squash Supporter,
Thank you so much for your contributions to US Squash. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, we rely on the commitment of our supporters for 20% of our budget each year. This backing allows us to invest in innovation and drive growth in the sport.
Despite the fact that we are the only country that does not receive any direct government support, squash has grown in the U.S. more than 100% in the last five years, and we’ve made remarkable progress in our elite development program.
We are a mission-driven organization, focused on Access, Community, Excellence and Sportsmanship. Our teams compete against the best in the world with grace and class, and I wanted to provide you with an update of our recent accomplishments in connection with several major programs and events.
This past summer we launched the US Squash Academy, gathering the best U.S. juniors, collegiate and post-collegiate players together for two weeks of extensive training. Alongside the continuation of our annual Regional Team Championships which brings together nearly 200 top junior players to represent their Region, and the summertime Canadian-American Challenge, we have also fielded a team to attend the British Junior Open each January for the last three years.
British Junior Open – Team USA’s national elite development program sent a delegation of thirty-four juniors to Sheffield, England and produced the program’s best results yet, including a record seven quarterfinalists and an unprecedented upset of the reigning world junior champion. New York City’s Daelum Mawji progressed father in a main draw than any other American as a BU17 9/16 seed, reaching the semifinal. Team USA’s standout result of the tournament came during the round of sixteen where U.S. junior champion Andrew Douglas shocked the BU19 top seed and reigning world junior champion Eain Yow Ng in five games. Douglas’ run in the main draw came to an end in the quarterfinals. Other Team USA quarterfinalists included Marina Stefanoni (GU15), Thomas Rosini (BU15), Dana Santry (BU15), Lucie Stefanoni (GU13) and John Ho (BU13).
U.S. Junior Open – Hosted in Hartford and New Haven, CT, the U.S. Junior Open, the largest individual junior tournament in the world, had a field of 889 players from thirty-four countries, six continents and twenty-two states. Four venues hosted the tournament on a combined forty-three courts at Yale, Trinity College, Wesleyan University and Choate Rosemary Hall. Of the ten champions, four represented Team USA, two Egypt and one each from Japan, Mexico, England and India. U.S. junior champion Andrew Douglas capped off his breakout year with his first U.S. Junior Open title in the BU19. Team USA’s fourteen-year-old phenom Marina Stefanoni defended her GU15 title with a perfect run of three game victories. Team USA swept the U11 divisions with Ahmad Haq claiming the BU11 title and Madison Ho taking the GU11 title.
As previously reported, at the World Junior Men’s Championships in August, our Junior Men defeated France (the #3 seeds) to earn our boys’ first berth ever in a world semifinal (our girls have finished 2nd each of the last three Worlds). The commitment demonstrated by the coaches and players, to one another, really captures the grit, perseverance, positive culture, and spirit of coming together that we emphasize as core values in the program. What I am most proud of however, is that nearly every other coach commented on our boys’ heart and sportsmanship during the competition. They were by far the best behaved group there, and were a credit to US Squash and their families.
For the first time in our history, we have an end-to-end US Squash elite development program, and the results are showing.
Our Elite Athlete Program (EAP) program, which hires our top ranked full time professionals and provides them extensive financial and logistical support, has also had the desired effect of pulling our best athletes closer to the organization. In addition, several of them now serve on the US Squash Board of Directors as USOC Athlete Representatives.
World Women’s Teams – Team USA upset three seeds Malaysia to place fifth at the World Women’s Team Championships for the second consecutive edition of the biennial tournament in December at Palais des Sports in Paris, France. Victories from world No. 7 Amanda Sobhy and University of Pennsylvania sophomore Reeham Sedky secured fifth place in what was the highest seeded upset by Team USA in tournament history. Alongside world No. 27, Olivia Blatchford, and Harvard University sophomore, Sabrina Sobhy, who made up Team USA’s delegation. The U.S. entered the 2016 competition seeded seventh. In what was her fifth win of the tournament, Amanda Sobhy ended world No. 6 Nicol David’s incredible 38-match Women’s World Team unbeaten run that stretched back to 2004.
Howe Cup – For the first time in twenty-two years, a team from New York, Bleed Blue, captured the U.S. Women’s Team Squash Championship A division title, better known as the Howe Cup, in November at Chelsea Piers in Stamford, Connecticut. More than two hundred and fifty women competed on forty-nine teams in the tournament’s eighty-third year. In the B division, the Cabernet Canucks Recorked became the first Canadian champions in tournament history. The Boston C-Party took the C Division title. The largest D division in tournament history with sixteen teams saw another tournament first as the Purple Reign became the first team from Minnesota to win a Howe Cup title. The D Division is also known as the Kathi Goertzen Cup in the second year it has been awarded.
Can-Am Cup – Team USA won its fourth Can-Am Cup the first weekend of November as the top sixty doubles players from each country converged on Wilmington, DE at the Wilmington Country Club and Vicmead Hunt Club. The tournament was decided on the final day as Canada edged the U.S. 28-26 to claim the men’s Bernheimer-Bell trophy, however the U.S. women won the Gillen-Pierce trophy 22-14 to put the U.S. ahead in the overall score 48-42. The best two teams in each age group, which included, Open, 40+, 45+, 50+, 55+, 60+, 65+, 70+, and 75+ for men and women played three matches each.
World Masters – USA’s Natalie Grainger and Norbert Kornyei are World Masters champions after winning their respective age divisions in Johannesburg, South Africa this past October in the 24th edition of the tournament. In addition, the nineteen-player U.S. delegation saw six players progress to the quarterfinals while competing alongside 950 players from thirty-four countries. Grainger entered the women’s 35+ draw as the top seed and successfully defended her title. Salt Lake City’s Kornyei pulled off a surprise title run in the men’s 70+ division as a 5/8 seed. The twenty-fifth World Masters which will be at Boar’s Head in Charlottesville, VA from July 29 to August 4, 2018.
As we turn towards the final stretch of the season, I again wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for all of your support. Your gifts form the foundation on which we build our future success.