US SQUASH

Greenwich Academy and Brunswick Repeat at High School Nationals

Greenwich Academy (l) and Brunswick School

Connecticut brother-sister schools Greenwich Academy and Brunswick School earned back-to-back national titles in repeat finals against Agnes Irwin and Haverford at the HEAD U.S. High School Team Squash Championships Sunday, February 3, at Trinity College.

Fourteen divisional champions were crowned on Sunday, concluding the world’s largest squash tournament with more than 1,400 players competing on a record 207 seven-player teams hosted by six venues: Trinity, Avon Old Farms, Loomis Chaffee, Wesleyan, Westminster and Suffield. The record participation included the highest number of girls’ teams in tournament history, requiring an additional sixth girls’ division.

The last time High School Nationals took place at Trinity College in 2015, Greenwich Academy lost in the Patterson Cup (Girls’ Division 1) final against Baldwin, which broke a seven-year unbeaten title run. GA returned to Trinity with a three-year title streak alive, and this time continued it in Hartford with a 5-2 team victory.

The first slate of matches both extended to five games. Haley Aube pulled off a comeback after going down 2-0 against Margaux Comai to give GA their first win in the No. 7 position. Seconds later Agnes Irwin No. 2 Olivia Walsh clinched a win for the Owls 11-4 in the fifth against twin sister Claire Aube, leveling the score at 1-all.

GA’s second set of identical twins, India and Lucy Stephenson, stepped up to sweep a crucial two matches in the No. 5 and 3 positions, respectively, putting GA within one match of clinching the title. While Agnes Irwin’s Katherine Glaser appeared to be on the brink of earning the Owls hope in the No. 1 position, GA’s No. 6 Lindsay Westerfield decisively sealed the title 13-11, 11-4, 11-2 to give GA its fourth win.

“Last year Agnes Irwin made us tense, they came out of the blocks so well; fearless, determined, playing quality squash,” said Luke Butterworth, Greenwich Academy Head Coach. “Today they upped it even more. They started the match firing on all cylinders, playing free-flowing squash with no fear. All credit to them for making it so difficult and for making it a great spectacle for high school squash. Credit to our girls for staying tough in those difficult moments and pulling through.”

GA have now won an incredible twelve Patterson Cups since the girls’ top division was first hosted in 2005. Like the seven-year streak from 2008-14, GA have produced another generation of players who have gone undefeated all four years of high school.

“This group is a credit to everyone who has been involved in their squash careers,” Butterworth said. “They’re so dedicated on and off the court with their studies, fitness and training. Everything they do is at a high level. They will leave and go on to a great college squash career and leave a legacy of hard work, and the girls coming through will learn from that and are more than capable of stepping up.”

The ensuing Justi Cup (Boys’ Division 1) saw Brunswick and Haverford face off for a fourth straight final. Brunswick entered having won last year and three years ago–both in Philadelphia–while Haverford beat Brunswick to win the program’s first Justi Cup in 2017 when the event was last held in Hartford at Westminster.

The Bruins got off to a flying start in the final as Tad Carney and Brian Leonard provided a 2-0 lead with three-game opening wins at the No. 7 and 2 positions, respectively. Coulter Mackesy put Brunswick within reach of clinching the title in the opening four matches, defeating Yeshwin Sankuratri in four games.

Dana Santry came within one game of clinching the title up 2-0 against Christian Shah at the No. 3 spot, but the Haverford junior fought back to win the third and fourth game both 11-9. At 9-all in the fifth, Santry pulled ahead to clinch the title 11-9 in the fifth. Despite the determined outcome, both sides gave it their all in the remaining three matches, including the last match of the tournament that saw Haverford’s Quintin Campbell win 11-8 in the fifth–Brunswick’s only dropped match of the tournament.

“Haverford’s been a great opponent,” said Jim Stephens, Brunswick Head Coach. “They’re a nice group of kids who are very talented. We’ve had a great rivalry and maybe we’ll see them again next year.”

Brunswick is now level with Episcopal Academy as the leading Justi Cup title-holders with their fourth since the boys’ top division was first held in 2004.

“This is one of the best groups of kids I’ve had for sure,” Stephens said. “They’ve all come up through the lower school and middle school. We didn’t even know when they came to school in kindergarten that they would become squash players. It’s really special to see them grow. We’re very proud of what they’ve done. They put a lot of hard work and practice into it and they deserve what they accomplished this weekend.”

The result marked the third time that GA and Brunswick won both the Patterson and Justi Cups side-by-side following up 2016 and 2018, and the first time doing so in their home state.

“Greenwich squash is strong,” said Stephens, who was named 2014 USOC Coach of the Year. “Our B teams finished awfully well with the girls finishing sixth and boys seventh. We have a lot of kids playing in Greenwich and we’re just trying to keep up with Philadelphia, which is a slightly bigger town. Like US Squash, we’re trying to grow the sport. The more playing the sport better.”

View results from all fourteen divisions here.

 

 

 

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