Meadow Mill Athletic Club in Baltimore held a week-long squash fiesta. It included an invitational junior tournament, a Junior Gold tournament and a PSA men’s $5,000 tournament.
The highlight came on Thursday evening during the PSA tournament’s quarterfinal matches when the Maryland State SRA gathered to celebrate Meadow Mill. A large crowd of more than a hundred friends was on hand, bringing members of all the squash clubs in the city and surrounding region together. In attendance were Ken Katz who had facilitated the original real estate deal for MMAC in 1992.
Kevin Klipstein, the president and CEO of US Squash, gave out two important awards. He gave the President’s Cup to Nancy Cushman. The owner of Meadow Mill, Cushman has demonstrated a lifetime of commitment to the game, running MMAC in an innovative fashion. Klipstein noted that there are probably more middle and high school players at MMAC today than there were junior players across the U.S. twenty-five years ago. Cushman thanked the many friends and family present, including the Dietz family that introduced her to squash forty years ago. She noted that she had been present when Margaret Riehl became the first woman to receive the President’s Cup, in 1981.
The President’s Cup is the highest individual award at US Squash. Inaugurated in 1966, the award is given to those who have made extraordinarily substantial contributions of the game of squash. Cushman is the forty-seventh recipient of the President’s Cup and the third woman in four years, after Alicia McConnell in 2014 and Maria Toorpakai in 2016, to receive the award.
Klipstein then gave out the W. Stewart Brauns, Jr. Award to Jim Hense. A longtime referee and junior squash supporter and organizer, Hense has been a key leader in Baltimore for decades. Klipstein said that all sports rely on volunteers at the grassroots level and leaders like Hense are essential to maintain the sense of community that is special about squash. Hense told stories about Stew Brauns that were greeted with hearty laughter.
The Brauns is named after a longtime dedicated leader of US Squash, Stew Brauns, who was a tournament director, head referee, committee chair and a founder of the World Squash Federation. US Squash has annually given out the Brauns Award since the 1980s. Previous winners include Jahangir Khan, Will Carlin, Beth Rasin, Danielle Maur, Treddy Ketcham, Larry Sconzo and Shabana Khan.
Additionally, the Maryland State SRA handed out the Robert Everd Leadership Award to Peter Heffernan, the director of squash at MMAC. Chris Binnie, the Trinity graduate from Jamaica, triumphed in the PSA tournament, breezing through the draw without losing a game.