The second annual US Squash Junior Awards Dinner was held Saturday night, March 16, with a crowd of enthusiastic supporters during the 2019 U.S. Junior Squash Championships at Boars Head Pavilion in Charlottesville, Virginia. The dinner celebrated the importance of sportsmanship and squash excellence by honoring the achievements of junior players, graduating seniors and families leaving the junior program at the conclusion of the 2018-2019 season.
View images from the Junior Awards Dinner here.
“It is a privilege to be working with so many talented young people to help them realize their true potential and achieve their shared goals,” said Kevin Klipstein, US Squash President and CEO. “Our mission is to partner with players, coaches and families to help instill life values such as integrity, courtesy, fair play and respect. They are essential to what the sport of squash is all about.”
Three major awards were presented by US Squash during the dinner:
- The DeRoy Junior Sportsmanship Award – honoring two graduating seniors, Udai Pal and Elizabeth Lentz, for their exemplary behavior both on and off the squash court while competing at a high level;
- Age Division Sportsmanship Awards – recognizing graduates who had displayed outstanding sportsmanship throughout the season:
BU11 – Lars Gertsen
GU11 – Kaitlyn Doe
BU13 – Johan Hodgson
GU13 – Samantha Jaffe
BU15 – Avi Agarwal
GU15 – Khushi Kukadia
BU17 – CJ Baldini
GU17 – Molly Stoltz
- The William T. Ketcham Jr. Award – given to players who had shown extraordinary commitment to the sport while significantly improving their game. Each displayed the largest ranking increase from March 21, 2018 to February 27, 2019 and competed in the National Juniors:BU11: Aiden Yun (improved 59 positions)GU11: Charlotte Sze (45 positions)
BU13: Devon Li (121 positions)
GU13: Cecilia Curran (70 positions)
BU15: Matthew Kang (74 positions)
GU15: Aarohi Kuthari (38 positions)
BU17: Quintin Campbell (67 positions)
GU17: Amanda Cowhey (58 positions)
BU19: Zach Nam (59 positions)
GU19: Erin O’Connor (44 positions)
During the awards ceremony, long-time squash parent Peter Blatchford spoke about the importance of squash and its impact on family. Blatchford’s son, Ian, marked his final National Juniors this weekend in the BU19 division.
“Squash has been a part of my life for 18 years,” Blatchford said. “I am blessed to have seen how squash has helped my kids grow and take risks. Squash builds character and teaches the importance of sportsmanship even in defeat. It’s the reason why we are here tonight to celebrate this wonderful sport.”
The Blatchford’s have been fixtures in the junior squash community for more than a decade, which also included the junior career of Olivia Blatchford Clyne, who is currently ranked world No. 19 professionally. Blatchford reflected on both children’s time in junior squash in a fitting tribute to conclude a memorable evening.