The Silver and Bronze Nationals were conducted at the US Squash National Center and the University of Pennsylvania this past weekend, March 24-26. Over 500 players from throughout the country came together to contest the two Championships and we were pleased to see 21 Tiger members and frequent visitors amongst the draws.
The Silver Championships saw 12 of the crew in action at the magnificent Arlen Specter US Squash National Center. It may be intuitive, however it bears repeating that the two glass courts at the National Center were part of the inspiration for our glass courts in Plainsboro. National titles in almost every age group in almost all Nationals will be won on glass and one can not underestimate how important it is to get at least some rehearsal practice in those somewhat idiosyncratic playing conditions.
Our sole GU17 representative, Anya, did us proud, losing out in a well contested semi final, playing a great match and then picking herself up to finish in 3rd position. Anya herself has had an excellent season, illustrated by rating move from 4.04 to 4.5 and never ceases to impress the coaches at Squash Tigers, on and off the court. She provides a great role model for our plethora of little girls starting out at the club.
The GU15 saw Jasmine and Angela finishing in 7/8th position and 9th position respectively. Angela in particular made us proud by winning the GU15 Most Improved. Although decided upon rankings, I also like to dwell on ratings, and Angela has moved from a 3.02 to a 3.91 in under a year. Hard work pays off and clearly bigger things are ahead for Miss Angela next season. A quarter finalist this time, Jasmine has her own story, with a rating rise from 3.05 to 3.83, which is ridiculously good, and a jump in her game that has to be seen to be believed. Bigger things ahead for our GU15 crew…
BU13 saw a breakout few wins from Yidrew, who eventually finished in 5th position. Yidrew’s rating rise in the past year is so good I actually had to triple check the US Squash website, with a jump from 1.75 up to 3.66 in twelve months. From a beginner to a quarter finalist in the Silver Nationals in a year, wow, just wow. What a great effort from the youngster and an effort that should inspire others to see what can be done with perseverance and consistent training.
Evan in the BU11 was, well, a machine, finishing in 6th position. To put Evan’s year in perspective, he moved his rating from 1.63 to 2.79, which also made me triple check the website, and demonstrated remarkable poise in this event. Only 9 years old and with a hard working older brother as a role model, the sky’s the limit!
BU15 saw Arjun and Jonathan finish in 11/ 12th and 20th position respectively. Arjun competed well, coming back from a couple of niggly injuries and Jonathan in this respect is another statistical wonder, with a rating move of .9 from 3.44 to 4.34 in twelve months.
Also bringing a big smile to our faces was Will, who won the BU17 Sportsmanship Award. Disappointingly Will was forced to retire from the event with an injury, but as befits his season, he performed to the best of his ability and remained sportsmanlike and classy through his disappointment… There will be some big wins ahead. Raayan and Ayan also contested the U17 event, giving their all in what was a tough, tough draw.
The GU11 saw frequent ST visitors Lilianna and Alice nailing down 2nd and 4th positions, well done ladies. Also well played to Chloe who, although eligible for the GU11, played up in the 13’s and finished in 13/16 position. Chloe moved over a rating point, from 1.75 to 2.98 in the past year and is poised to make an impact next season when she ages up!
The Bronze also had its share of the dramatic!
The BU11 had two of our favorites, Yiden and Tony finishing in 4th and 5th positions and similarly Lukas and Julian in the BU13 brought home 5th and 6th.
The BU15 was one of those draws where “everyone aged up” and our 13 year olds did a great job, with Tyler making a quarter final and Andrew and Allen getting a taste of the big time against “the big guys”.
The BU17 and BU19 had “fan favorites” Adam and Jason. Adam hasn’t even been competing for a calendar year, so to be playing at his current standard is exceptional and much more is to be expected. Jason, our pet Senior, ambidextrous, multi-sport and scintillating conversationalist that he is, came out 8th in a draw in which he was also notably the least experienced. Both boys clearly love the sport, played with passion and were a pleasure to prepare for the event and guide through it…
Back to work after the Nationals, PLANNING SEASON has commenced for Squash Tigers. For some of the less experienced players, PLANNING, refers to ensuring they have the RIGHT next step in their competitive squash careers and use their Spring in the most constructive fashion.
For our more experienced players, it is the recognition that Spring is the best time of year to work on those technical changes that will result in making it to that next level of achievement come our next competitive challenges.
Either way, now is that time for reassessment and looking towards the next big goal!
If you'd like to take advantage of sitting down with myself or one of our coaches for 30 minutes to both discuss progress and plan that improvement to the next level please email me directly and I'll put it together. You do not have to be a current Squash Tigers member, I'm always happy to talk squash with anyone even if you'd just like a "fresh pair of eyes".
Congratulations again to everyone who contested the Gold, Silver and Bronze Nationals - the preparation to bring home the titles next year starts today!