For the second time in tournament history, Connecticut’s Greenwich Academy and Brunswick School claimed both the Patterson and Justi Cups at the 2018 HEAD U.S. High School Team Squash Championships at Philadelphia Cricket Club.
Two years ago, the brother and sister schools first achieved the dual title feat at PCC against local Philadelphia programs Baldwin and Haverford. Sunday afternoon, the Gators and Bruins went one better against home teams–first-time finalists Agnis Irwin and defending Justi Cup champions Haverford in front of a packed PCC gallery.
The girls final led off the afternoon with locals Agnis Irwin entering the program’s first Patterson Cup final donned in Philadelphia Eagles gear for the introduction. The Owls were seeded second in the draw and defeated local rivals Baldwin in the semifinals Saturday evening on their way to the final.
Agnis Irwin proved to be a tough challenge for the ten-time champions with Olivia Walsh earning an early result for the owls in the No. 2 position. The Gators would go on to win the remaining six matches, however, with Binney Huffman clinching the decisive fourth match with a five-gamer in the No. 3 position.
The title marks Greenwich Academy’s third consecutive title since 2016. Bryan Patterson, the girls’ team competition founder and namesake, presented the trophy to the Gators.
“This season could not have gone any better in terms of the way the girls have come together from start to finish,” said Luke Butterworth, Greenwich Academy Head Coach. “The camaraderie and togetherness throughout the program has been perfect this year and we ended it with a really good final. What we watched out there was a great advert for high school squash and girls’ squash in general. Agnes Irwin had an unbelievable tournament and really challenged our girls this afternoon. Our girls really had to step up and use every ounce of discipline and control to get that W.”
Greenwich Academy continue an incredible Patterson Cup record with eleven titles since the competition was founded in 2005.
“I’d like to thank the girls for all of the hard work they put in on a day to day basis,” Butterworth said. “They deserve all of the accolades that they get. When you come into a tournament with a target on your back and the pressure to win when everyone thinks you’re going to win—it’s not easy. And the girls proved it today playing above and beyond their potential.”
The Justi Cup final followed on court in what was the third consecutive final between Brunswick and Haverford. Brunswick made their seventh consecutive final having claimed their first title in 2015, while Haverford were defending the program’s maiden Justi Cup earned last year in Hartford.
A closely-contested final ensued with a 2-2 scoreline going into the last three matches.
Dana Santry pulled off a pivotal five-game comeback in the No. 6 position to give Brunswick a 3-2 lead, until within minutes of each other, No. 1 Max Finkelstein and No. 4 Nick Spizzirri clinched the Bruins’ third Justi Cup.
“Haverford had a great team and made it a really difficult final,” said Jim Stephens, Brunswick School Head Coach. “They were the toughest team we played all year. Asad is a great coach, and credit to their whole team who showed great sportsmanship.”
Finkelstein, a graduating senior, clinched both Brunswick titles at PCC in both 2016 and this weekend.
“Our captains, Max Finkelstein, Will Holey and Patrick Feeley, were great all tournament,” Stephens said. “They were a big boost to the team in the finals. The team put in an incredible amount of work and dedication this season—more than any other season—and it showed.”
Stephens has been Head Coach at Brunswick School since 1986, and in 2014 was nominated for the USOC National Coach of the Year Award. Stephens believes Greenwich, Connecticut, continues its rise as one of the nation’s hotbeds of squash.
“The game is growing and we have a lot of kids playing squash in Greenwich,” Stephens said. “There’s more interest and more courts than ever before. We’re catching up to Philadelphia as a small town. They have the hundred and fifty year history of racquet sports. We’re just trying to model ourselves after them.”
The HEAD U.S. High School Squash Team Championships continues to be the largest squash tournament in the world with more than 1,300 players. Seven venues in the greater Philadelphia area—Philadelphia Cricket Club, Episcopal Academy, Berwyn Squash & Fitness, Germantown Cricket Club, William Penn Charter, SCH Willow Grove and SCH Cherokee—hosted to the 186 teams from around the nation.
2018 marked the second year of HEAD’s title sponsor support.
“HEAD is proud to be the title sponsor of the U.S. Squash High School Team Squash Championships,” said Ben Simons, HEAD Penn Racquet Sports Senior Business Manager. “We would like to congratulate all of the division champions as well as the 2018 High School National Champions–Brunswick School & Greenwich Academy.”