This weekend concluded the 80th annual U.S. Women’s Howe Cup Team Championships with thirty-six teams of women competing for the Howe Cup trophy in divisions A, B, C and D.
The first U.S. Women’s Howe Cup Team Championships was held in 1928, and the permanent trophy, the Howe Cup, was donated in 1955 by Mrs. Virginia Griggs in honor of the leading family in women’s squash, the Howe family.
Since then, the tournament has grown and divisions have been added. The B division competition began 1958 and the ‘B’ Howe Cup trophy was donated in 1959 by Mrs. Henry Flynt and Mrs. Mary W. Knapp. Ten years later, in 1968, the C Division was added, and in 1969 the ‘C’ Howe Cup trophy was donated by Mr. James Traviss. The newest addition to the tournament, the D Division and ‘D’ Howe Cup trophy, was formally sanctioned in 2008.
The U.S. Women’s Howe Cup Team Championships brings women of all ages and skill levels from across the country together for a fun weekend of squash. This year, women from as far as Florida, California, and parts of Canada traveled to the Fairmount Athletic Club in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania to compete in this unique event.
“This tournament has been great because there are a lot of age group players, ” says sixty-eight-year-old Blithe Runsdorf. Runsdorf picked up squash in graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh and played everyday until a shoulder injury forced her to stop at age 55. The 1989 National Hardball Singles Championships Women 35+ finalist was thrilled to take the court again this past weekend with the C Division Bolly Boggle team, “I’ve been a competitor in sports all my life.”
Philly A2 became this year’s A Division champions. The win capped off an impressive weekend for Kelsey Engman, Amy Gross, Isabel Hirshberg, Alicia Rodriguez Acosta, and Georgina Stoker, who only dropped one match as a team the whole weekend. Philly A1 took second place.
Eleven teams competed for the ‘B’ Howe Cup with the Barn Louses from Squash Alley, Connecticut facing off against the Can Knickers of Canada in the final. The Barn Louses topped the Can Knickers four matches to one. Barbara Keil, Tempest Bowden, Jennifer Gabler, and Jennifer Roos each won their matches for the Barn Louses, with Roos’s match going a long five games against Can Kickers’ Samantha Gowland, 11-9, 11-4, 13-15, 8-11, 11-7.
The Merry Malbecs of Canada topped the 12-team C division, beating a fellow Canadian team, the Capital Girls, in the final. Lisa Macelwee, Stephanie Bazin, Lesley Kelly, and Genevieve Sirois each won their matches for the Merry Malbecs.
Eight teams faced off in round-robin style play for the ‘D’ Howe Cup, with the Dartmouth Dames facing the Boston D-va’s in the final. The Dartmouth Dames had a fantastic performance with Rhonda Lake, Margaret Werner, Julia Lane, Diana Calligan, and Adele Basset each winning their matches in three games.