Century Doubles Draws
The tenth anniversary U.S. Century Squash Doubles Championships attracted the tournament’s largest field with ninety-nine teams, and produced five first-time champions this weekend at the University Club in New York City.
Matches were also hosted at New York Athletic Club, Union Club and Racquet & Tennis Club. The ‘tournament of the century’ requires that the combined age of each team to be 100 years or greater, and has grown to include Open, A, Women’s, Mixed, Grand Champions (80+), Masters (70+) and Legends (60+) draws.
The Open division top seeds, Chris Spahr & Andrew Slater, exited the main draw in the first round at the hands of John Conway & Rick Wahlstedt, who would then fall against finalists Ned Edwards & Ed Garno.
Philadelphia’s three seeds Dominic Hughes & Nigel Thain advanced to the final due to injury when second-seeded left-waller, Jeff Stanley, injured his Achilles at 14-14 in the first game, forcing him and partner William Ullman to retire.
Hughes & Thain then pulled off a marathon final against Edwards & Garno, winning their first Open Century title 13-15, 15-8, 15-3, 9-15, 15-11.
Chilton brothers Ed & Court were one of four top seeds to fulfill their seeding in the A division. The 2014 A champions dropped one game in each match of their tournament, including losing 15-1 after winning the first point in the first game of the final against Charlie Humber & Pete Bostwick. The brothers would recover to win the final 1-15, 15-13, 15-18, 15-11 to earn their second A title.
Century women’s top seeds Sara Luther & Alicia McConnell dropped just one game on their way to winning their maiden Century title. First-time participants Julie Kessler & Beth Fedorowich had upset defending champions and two seeds Margaret Rux & Susan Greene in the semifinals. Luther & McConnell then took the title 15-5, 15-11, 15-8.
The largest mixed division in tournament history saw top seeds Dana Betts & Gordon Anderson defeat surprise finalists Jeffrey Welsh & Leigh Wood 15-10, 15-9, 15-7. Betts & Gordon dropped just one game to win their first Century title.
The largest draw of the tournament with twenty-one teams, the Century Legends (60+), saw top seeds Dave Rosen & Stan Dorney exit the main draw in the quarterfinals against James Bragg & Bob Burton. Bragg & Burton were then defeated by four seeds and eventual first-time champions Palmer Page & Patrick Chifunda. Page & Chifunda upset two seeds Alex Stait & R. Clark Amos in the final 15-6, 15-14, 9-15, 15-14.
The Century Masters (70+) division saw two unseeded, first-time finalists reach the final. Edward Minskoff & William Hartigan upset top seeds and defending champions Scott Stoneburgh & Tony Ross then reached final in a five-game semifinal against John Brazilian & Rudolph Montgelas. The bottom half of the draw saw Mike Meredeth & Michael Manley take out both the three seeds, Michael Wilson & Dylan Patterson, and two seeds, Tom Poor & Jonathan Hyett, to reach the final. Minskoff & Hartigan pulled our a marathon final to win their first title 10-15, 15-10, 12-15, 15-11, 15-10.
2010 Masters champions Michael Puertas & George Fowler earned their second Century title as top seeds in Grand Champions (80+) division. The St. Louis tandem didn’t drop a game, including a three-game final victory over defending champions Drewe Williams & Dave Matthews from Santa Fe.
A major part of the festivities at the Century was the announcement of the new Grand Master. An award that was started at the Century in 2010, the A. Carter Fergusson Grand Master Honor Roll recognizes a lifetime of contributions and accomplishments on and off the court. It is given to those who have demonstrated unbounded enthusiasm, competitive spirit and great sportsmanship, as well as the ideal qualities of leadership. It is named after Carter Fergusson, now ninety-two, who set a squash record by playing in sixty-two consecutive National Singles tournaments.
This year’s honoree was Wendy F. Nolan. Nolan has played for decades at Piping Rock Country Club and the Union Club. She is an active women’s dubs league player in New York and has played in almost every Century and regularly in the U.S. Mixed. Nolan has been a club champion in both singles and doubles as well as well as Piping’s mixed member guest and is known as a tremendously good sport on the court. She is the first woman to win the award.