Article courtesy of Julie Warshaw, StreetSquash PR & Communications Coordinator
On May 9, StreetSquash—New York’s first urban squash program—held their seventh annual StreetSquash Cup at their gleaming 8-court facility in Harlem, New York with ten teams and sixty players competing for top honors.
Founded in 1999, StreetSquash is a youth enrichment program that combines academic tutoring, squash instruction, community service, college preparation, leadership development and mentoring for public school students in Harlem, NY.
It speaks to the strength and commitment of the “Squash Community” when events such as this bring out top squash professionals, college athletes and local enthusiasts to rally around important urban squash programs such as StreetSquash.
Top Professionals came from around the world including Wael El Hindi (Egypt, former world #9), Adrian Grant (UK, former world No. 9) and Campbell Grayson (NZ, world No. 37) and were joined by top college athletes such as Ramit Tamden (Columbia), Amr Khalifa (St. Lawrence) and Cece Cortes (Harvard) to compete in exciting head-to-head matches.
In all, over $1.1 million was raised by the ten teams to support the important work of StreetSquash.
“StreetSquash holds a big place in my heart, ” says Adrian Grant, a three-time participating pro and former world No. 9, “let’s break the record books again next year!”
The closing ceremony featured Raheem Logan, a StreetSquash graduate, who spoke eloquently to the capacity crowd about his “StreetSquash journey” from young student in Harlem to Wesleyan University where he currently plays No. 2 on their squash team.
“It hasn’t always been easy, ” Logan told the crowd, “but I wouldn’t be where I am today without my StreetSquash family.”
Logan was just one of nine alumni who returned to StreetSquash to compete in the highly anticipated tournament. Brandy Williamson, StreetSquash ’14 and Danny Cabrera, StreetSquash ’12, two perennial crowd favorites, returned to the 2015 Cup for their respective third and fourth years. Williamson, who just completed her freshman year playing No. 1 for Mount Holyoke College and was voted Rookie of the Year, says “It’s always fun getting to compete in the cup, ” especially representing the ladies on the “Women’s All Star” team.
Cabrera, who is also a seasoned veteran of the StreetSquash Cup, says he loves returning to StreetSquash for the annual event. Cabrera is a rising senior at Hobart College, where he recently received the prestigious Arnold Scholar-Athlete Award for his selfless dedication to Hobart’s squash team and his high level of achievement as a student.
From professional athletes to outstanding alumni, the StreetSquash Cup proved to be another exciting day for New York City squash. For more information on StreetSquash and how to get involved, you can visit their website at www.streetsquash.org/harlem.
StreetSquash was not the only urban squash program this month to raise funds and awareness—SquashBusters, based in Boston, raised the same amount ($1.1 million) in their spring fundraiser; SquashSmarts raised over $200, 000 last weekend; and CitySquash has its annual million dollar Bash in the next few months.