The 2019 U.S. Century Doubles Championships produced first-time Open division champions–Chris Walker & Thomas Harrity–and repeat women’s champions–Lissen Tutrone & Kathryn Grant–at the University Club of New York, the Heights Casino, New York Athletic Club, Racquet & Tennis Club, Union Club and the Apawamis Club, January 18-21, in New York.
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. 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. Ninety teams–including players from Canada and Mexico–competed across the seven divisions: Open, A, Women’s, Mixed, Grand Champions (80+), Masters (70+) and Legends (60+).
In the Open division, first-time partners Walker & Harrity ended the three-year reign of defending champions Nigel Thain & Dominic Hughes in the semifinals 15-14, 15-9, 15-12. In the finals, Walker & Harrity prevailed against long-time Century Doubles players and two seeds, William Ullman & Jeff Stanley, 7-15, 15-11, 15-9, 15-10.
“It feels great to win our first Century Open National Doubles title,” Harrity said. “It was a very tough draw we had to pass through playing last year’s finalists in the quarters, three-time reigning champions in the semis and the perennially tough team of Stanley and Ulman, long time partners on their home court. Chris and I have known each other for years, but have never played together so it was great fun to team up. We learned that we have good on court chemistry.”
Harrity & Walker dubbed themselves as the ‘Hipsters’, having discussed playing a national doubles event together since going through hip replacement surgeries together over the past few years.
“I personally really enjoyed rekindling some old friendships, catching up with an almost over-whelming number of fellow squash players from across the country who love the game and descended on NYC this weekend,” Walker said. “I had a great time watching, as well as playing, the matches. Events like this are wonderful reminders of what an awesome community of people the squash players and supporters are, and that whoever you are, whatever level or age, there is always going to be a place for you in one of the draws!”
“The event is quite special since the pairings can be unique and unpredictable to handicap,” Harrity said. “Young and old can play together or two middle aged players can team up and the tactics and strategies can vary. What is most fun is the camaraderie of seeing, playing against, watching and socializing with long time friends who share a passion for squash. The setting of NYC also adds to the flavor.”
The women’s draw saw Tutrone & Grant record a perfect tournament without dropping a game on their way to a second straight title. After topping their pool with two wins, Tutrone & Grant defeated two-time Century champion Sara Luther & Meredeth Quick in the final to clinch the title.
“It feels great to win, but what I most enjoy is spending my time with my best friend, Kat,” Tutrone said. “She is the only reason why I play in the doubles tournaments in the first place. We have been best of friends since we were in third grade. That’s a long time, since we now add up to 110 years old! We play very well together and have developed a ton of squash stories along the way. We can always celebrate the fact that we can still move well at our advanced age too. We can only hope to continue in the winners circle in the Century tourney in the future.”
The Century Doubles enjoyed its sixth year of support from sponsors Jefferson’s Small Batch Bourbon. Thanks to all Century Doubles patrons for their support.