US SQUASH

Hanson Edges Harrity in All-American CAC Open Final to Claim Largest Career Title

Todd Harrity (l) and Chris Hanson

Two-time U.S. national champion Chris Hanson lifted his largest career PSA title—the $15,000 CAC Open—with a four-game final victory against U.S. teammate Todd Harrity Sunday at the Concourse Athletic Club in Sandy Springs, Georgia.

Hanson, the tournament’s eight seed and world No. 74, made a surprise run to the final, including a three-game upset over top seed and world No. 50, Joshua Masters, in the quarterfinals, and a four-game semifinal victory against Mexico’s Jesus Camacho.

Harrity, world No. 54, fulfilled his two seed by reaching the final without dropping a game, setting up a sixth-career match up between the two twenty-seven-year-old Americans.

In Sunday’s final, it was Hanson who pulled off his first win against Harrity in his sixth attempt, clinching the title 11-6, 11-9, 9-11, 11-9.

“The final match-up with Todd was certainly my biggest mental hurdle yet,” Hanson said. “Todd and I have been friends since we first started battling it out as juniors in the U11’s, and let’s just say it’s been a very long time since I’ve beaten him. This win really meant a great deal to me—despite being the same age and being on Team USA together, I’ve looked up to Todd for a long time and have the utmost respect for what he has accomplished. I knew that I would have to be as focused and disciplined as ever to beat him yesterday in the final, and am proud of myself for being able to do just that.”

Hanson adds the $15k CAC Open title to his three previous $5,000 PSA titles. The 2018 CAC Open was the inaugural addition of the tournament, and first $15,000 U.S. Pro Series tournament with prize money parity in the southeast. England’s Emily Whitlock defeated Yale graduate Millie Tomlinson to claim the women’s title.

“This tournament was a great experience, and to be honest, I wasn’t planning on anything for this weekend besides just trying to win one match at a time,” Hanson said. “There were a lot of match-ups didn’t look good for me on paper—Josh being the 1 seed in the quarter, and playing the semi against Jesus, who I lost to 3-0 the last time we played, just to make the final. But I was able to put those things out of mind, and just had my head down the whole way through. I think that shows how important the mental side of the game is, and is something that I have been working at constantly over the last year to break through some of the plateaus in my game.”

Hanson and Harrity—both US Squash Elite Athlete Program (EAP) players—have claimed the past four S.L. Green U.S. Men’s Championship titles with Harrity’s coming in 2015 and 2016, and Hanson’s in 2017 and 2018. The duo represented Team USA together most recently at the 2017 Men’s World Team Championship and will lead Team USA at the 2018 Pan American Senior Championships in Grand Cayman.

It was great to have an All-American final on home soil,” Hanson said. “This kind of weekend makes me really excited about the future for Team USA. I’m looking forward to a good summer of training, including a few weeks at the National Academy camps, in preparation for our next team event at the Pan Ams in Cayman Islands in late August.”

Watch CAC Open live stream replays here.

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