Squash Tigers struck Gold in the Golden State JCT! The event was headlined by JJ’s second consecutive JCT victory and Captain Consistent Alex making his third top 3 finish of the season! Overall I was very proud of the dozen ST’s who qualified and played some magnificent squash up and down the age groups.
The West Coast JCT was conducted this past weekend in San Francisco in the rather salubrious surroundings of two of the Bay Clubs in Fremont and Redwood Shores respectively, with Squash Zone being the home base of the U19 fraternity. Due to the distance between venues both Jamie and I traveled to the event and rotated through venues, and shared the driving in what was an enjoyable and challenging few days on the sunnier coast of the USA.
Squash has flourished on the West Coast in the past few years and some of the best and brightest prospects have come from Charlie Johnson’s Academy in Redwood Shores, so it was a treat for all of us to be back in what is an enthusiastic and passionate part of the squash world. US Squash ran the event exceedingly well, with their staff working long days and yet always managing to be a voice of reason… Truly, the event was a pleasure and conducted for the most part in accordance with the high levels of sportsmanship our US Squash CEO exhorted pre event … and it never hurts that the ST kids played fantastically well!
For those unfamiliar with JCT’s they are explained by US Squash as the “highest level of junior tournament, which attracts the best players from around the entire country. US Squash accredits 5 JCT tournaments each year and each event is played over the course of three full days.” Long story short, the best 32 players from each age group get together and test each other out roughly once a month in season… it doesn’t get more fun than that!
Squash Tigers had stand out performances throughout, although as he often is, JJ was the lead story with his second consecutive JCT victory, this time with the loss of only one game in his five matches against some of the best U13’s in the country. Alex was again the picture of consistency, finishing top 3 in the third JCT contested at U15 this season - for the 3rd time! Although I know Alex would have liked more, however he was skillful and effortful, always exhibiting the highest levels of both sportsmanship and manners and it was a pleasure to coach both boys through the event… bigger things are definitely ahead…
The GU15 saw Reghan, as she frequently is, the star of proceedings, forging her path to yet another quarter final despite only having recently aged up. Her match with Isabella in the second round, which was won in a nail biting fifth game tiebreak was one of the best matches of the tournament by way of effort and tension with both players young for the age group (Isabella playing up) and exhibiting outstanding drive and competitiveness. Candidly, I was tired watching, can only imagine how the girls felt!
Lily also enjoyed a great JCT, finishing in a season best U15 placing of 10th, demonstrating clear improvement in all aspects of her game and defeating quality players. Not to be left behind, little sister Mimi in the GU11 also finished a credible 9-12, winning a solid match and performing to her ability throughout. A weekend to savor for our very own Williams sisters type crew!
The U17’s saw Claire and Parth, both recently aged up, also playing delightful squash and threatening players rated vastly higher. Now, although “vastly” sounds more than a trifle grandiose, we are talking about four and five game matches with players rated .30 higher… impressive work by anyone’s standards. “Trust the process” is a cliche, but it’s a cliche for a reason and its repetition, whilst often trite, can be quite worthy. The process is working and day by day and we’re getting there… well done folks.
Our second representative in the BU15 was Eric, making his debut in the age group at a JCT. Eric was reserve #1 for a loooooooooooooong time and we were pleased when he finally got the call up before the event. Five matches and a top 20 finish showed that he belonged and he proved a threat to everyone in the draw.
Overall the West Coast JCT was a huge success. Congratulations to the players and thank you to the parents who gave of their time to escort the kids and give them the opportunity. Many thanks also to Coach Jamie, who made the trip, coached hard all day, then trained each evening to prepare for a PSA event in Florida starting tomorrow. Easy to talk about dedication, but even better to be an example of it, and role models don’t come any better than Coach Jamie.
Back at the club it’s a LOB week, preparation for the Haverford Gold this coming weekend (amongst other things) and the five week countdown to the US Open. It’s been a spectacular season so far and we’re just starting! See you all at training, bigger things ahead.