Squash Tigers recorded our best ever JCT event this past weekend in Virginia! We knocked it out of the park with personal bests, fantastic squash and superb sportsmanship from all concerned. Exactly two years to the day from the opening of the club our best and brightest showed up and did us all proud!
IN BRIEF - THE BIG NUMBERS
20 Squash Tigers qualified for the tournament
11 players placed in the top 10 of their respective age groups
7 of those players went on to a top 5 finish!
SETTING THE SCENE
The Mid-Atlantic JCT was conducted this past MLK weekend in the lavish facility that is the Boars Head Resort in Charlottesville, Virginia. The facility serves as home courts for UVA Squash, under the charge of a world class coach in Mark Allen and is considered amongst the finest facilities in the world. Long story short, a perfect venue in a lovely part of the country!
The JCT itself was the fourth of five on the US Squash calendar, with the final event scheduled for Texas next month. The culmination of the season is undoubtedly the National Championships, however the JCT’s are the next highest prestige event, both in terms of elite player participation and ranking importance.
WHAT DID IT LOOK LIKE
If you haven’t caught up with our social media, our Insta Story gives a great feel for the event. We also were fortunate enough to have Edward at the event, supporting his brother Evan, and he took some magnificent photos, many of which can be found via our Facebook page. Thanks to Edward, some spectacular shots of some spectacular shots!
THE TOURNAMENT ITSELF
Squash Tigers boasted 20 players across the age groups. Of our team, two were making their JCT debuts, Katherine in the U11’s and Ani in the U19’s and it was splendid to have them both involved and a great reward for hard work! We’ll go through the age groups on our break down!
Reghan again led the way for the program with her third JCT win of the season in the GU17 defeating Isabella in the final with a hard fought 3/1 win. Reghan is undefeated in JCT play this season and it’s easy to overlook the fact that she’s still only 14 and playing up an age group for these events. Also so impressive is Isabella, six months younger than Reghan, and the reigning GU13 National Champion. Certainly the girls will run this back over and over until college and maybe beyond.
Our other GU17 representatives were Claire and Lily who finished in 10th and 13-16th respectively. I know both girls would have liked to place higher, but both showed top level play and theirs will be another day… roll on Texas!
The BU17 saw Colten make his second semi final of the season and Parth go through to his second 5th placing. Colten defeated Parth in an all Tiger quarter final to make the semi, and Parth played some remarkable squash in the consolation to win out. Much to be satisfied with from both. Also of note was Alex who overcame some challenges to finish a noteworthy 10th. All three are excellent examples to the other boys in the program of hard work and dedication. Bigger things ahead!
JJ in the BU15 won his way dominantly through the draw and made a solid semi final. He then defeated a very skilled Canadian to take 3rd place. JJ is always one of our stars and celebrated his 14th birthday on the Monday of the event - Happy Birthday JJ! Jonathan was our other BU15 representative and, playing in only his second JCT, won tough matches to take 17th! Jonathan is improving with each and every event.
The Tiger U13 crew was led by Meredith who won through to a semi final! Not quite Meredith’s day, but she played some superb squash in her last JCT before aging up in February! Watch out U15’s! Eric was also superb in making a quarter final - the big man has awesome racket skills and is always a treat to watch (Happy Birthday for today mate!). We also had Mimi winning her way to 19-20 place and Chloe competing well in only her second ever JCT! All in all, the U13’s are ones to watch!
The GU15 featured Erika and Madeleine. Erika was fantastic in a comeback tournament with an 11/12 finish. This was her first competitive outing since September and with that in mind it was even more impressive. Similarly, Madeleine played a very solid event, getting some great experience in her first GU15 JCT! Both girls exhibit a maturity and work ethic “par excellence” and make the program proud.
Yiden led the way in the U11 world with a superb semi final. Not far behind was Katherine who finished 7 - 8 in only her first JCT! Evan was also fantastic and his win in his final match to take 13th was one for the ages!
Last chronologically, but never least were our U19’s, Maryam and Anika. Both young ladies are lovely examples to all our younger players and it is refreshing to see high school seniors still so enthusiastic about the sport. Maryam was her usual effortful self, and added some delightful skills in taking the ball to the front court. Maryam is a UVA recruit and had Coach Allen and compatriots most impressed with her game. Ani, on her behalf, played clearly her best ever squash and it was satisfying to see her do so in her first ever JCT. Playing tough and skillful squash, Ani is still getting better every week!
THE THANK YOUS
Well done to the 20 players and their families who made the trek to Virginia to compete on a rather inclement weekend. Without the efforts of moms and dads the kids couldn’t achieve and it doesn’t go unnoticed. I am particularly grateful to the Squash Tigers parents who bonded together, gave advice, support and encouragement to each other all weekend on what was a very, very busy time for us all. Finally a public and heartfelt thankyou to Coaches Jamie and Lyall for their effort, enthusiasm and expertise - we are lucky to have two of the best in the game mentoring our kids through these high level competitions.
The final JCT of the season will be held in Houston, Texas in exactly one month. Texas is the perfect destination for the culmination of the Junior Championship Tour! Houston will be home to the 2024 World Junior Championships and is one of the most vibrant upcoming squash regions in the world - can’t wait to see the Squash Tiger crew in action there!