US SQUASH

Three Repeat Champions at Record Century Doubles

Thain hughes crop

Two-time Open division champions Nigel Thain (l) & Dominic Hughes

The largest U.S. Century Doubles Championships to date, with a field of 117 teams, produced three repeat champions across seven divisions this weekend in New York City.

The tournament was held by perennial tournament headquarters, the University Club of New York, with matches also hosted by Racquet & Tennis Club, New York Athletic Club, Union Club of New York, Heights Casino and Apawamis Club.

Celebrating the notion that squash is a lifetime sport, the “Tournament of the Century” requires that the combined age of each team to be one hundred years or greater; it includes Open, A, Women’s, Mixed, Grand Champions (one player has to be 80+), Masters (70+) and Legends (60+) draws. The Century brings together partnerships with father & son, father & daughter, husband & wife, twin brothers, brothers and friends alike in a well-spirited, yet competitive weekend of doubles.

Three years ago at the Century, ninety-six year-old Victor Elmaleh had a ceremonial hit with Victor Waite, age four. This year, another nonagenarian appeared at the University Club but this time he competed in the Century. Brian Caldwell, age ninety-five, played with his son Clive Caldwell, age sixty-five—their combined 160 years was the highest ever for a Century partnership. The Caldwells lost their first two matches but won their third, by default. Will Mariani & Norm Lee would go on to claim their first Century title in the Grand Champions (80+) division.

For just the second time in the tournament’s eleven years, an Open division defending champion retained their title. Sandy Tierney & Steve Scharff were first to achieve this in 2014 and 2015, and Nigel Thain & Dominic Hughes now join their company. Thain & Hughes narrowly reached the final after winning a simultaneous match ball in the fifth against Ed Garno & Beau Buford in the semis. In the final, the top seeds prevailed against John McAtee & Tom Clayton 14-15, 15-11, 15-13, 15-3.

In the largest women’s draw to date with fourteen teams, Sara Luther & Alicia McConnell became the first team to become repeat champions. Luther & McConnell dropped just one game all tournament and won 15-11, 15-10, 15-11 in the final against Julie Kessler & Beth Fedorowich.

Fedorowich would go on to claim her first Century Doubles title in the Mixed division, however, with partner Will Carlin, who also celebrated his maiden Century Doubles title. Carlin & Fedorowich upset the two seeds, Nico Elmaleh & Suzie Pierrepont, in the final 15-10, 15-11, 14-15, 15-11.

The A division, which had the largest draw with twenty-seven teams, saw top seeds James Heldring & Dave Rosen claim their first title as partners, and second career Century Doubles titles. Heldring & Rosen defeated unseeded John Beaman & James Grass in the final. (Beaman & Grass had eliminated two seeds Alex Dean & Patrick Miller in a five-game quarterfinal on their run.)

Brooklyn’s Tim Griffin & Ryan O’Connell pulled off a surprise title run in the Legends (60+) division to earn Griffin’s first Century Doubles title and O’Connell’s second Legends title. Griffin & O’Connell upset four seeds Mike Puertas & Clark Amos in the quarters, one seeds Palmer Page & Joshua Schwartz in the semis, and two seeds Scott Devoy & Andrew Nehrbas in the final 15-7, 15-14, 13-15, 15-10.

The tournament’s third repeat champion came in the Masters (70+) division with William Hartigan & Edward Minskoff. Hartigan & Minskoff defeated Tony Ross & Scott Stoneburgh for the second year in a row, this time in the final, 15-14, 15-13, 9-15, 15-10.

View more images in the U.S. Century Doubles gallery.

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