by Elliot Greenbaum
Founded in the 19th century in England, the sport of squash is considered one of the fastest-growing in the U.S. and Greenwich High School is lucky to ride the wave. The 29 players on this year’s Greenwich Squash team are working and playing hard.
Greenwich Squash is run by parent volunteers and GHS players at their own expense. Since it does not receive funding support from the Greenwich Public Schools, each player is responsible for all the fees related to the training and competition.
Greenwich Squash does not currently have varsity status at GHS, but that hasn’t stopped the team from training together and succeeding on the court. They have practice clinics three times a week with professional private coaches. This year, they are training with the coaches from Greenwich Academy at their newly refurbished courts. Jackson Fish, a junior and one of four captains on the boys team, says, “Despite being a club sport, we as a team continue to work hard during practice and in competitions, including nationals each year. And we hope to gain varsity status in the future.”
The season runs from November through February, and the team competes in the FairWest Public School Squash League, traveling throughout Westchester and Fairfield Counties to play matches. Last season, the team was extremely successful within the FairWest Public School Squash League. Boys A finished first out of 19 teams, Boys B finished in the fourth, and the Girls team finished in the #7 spot out of 15 teams. The Boys C squad, formed to accommodate the larger size of this year’s team, had a great inaugural season with 6 wins and 1 loss.
Squash does not have the traditional teamwork of a soccer or basketball team but the players collaborate in different ways. Co-captain junior Zane Khader, said “Even though we’re playing individually, a lot of the game is receiving tips from your teammates and getting the team hyped up before a match. Going through our prematch chant is easily one of the most enjoyable things about the team sport.”
Greenwich Squash is comprised of a diverse group of GHS students. Many are 3-season athletes playing football, rugby, crew and cross country among other sports and extra-curricular activities. “The fact that I can play with and bond with people who I would not have spoken to if I hadn’t played squash is really valuable”, says Zane, Junior Class President and one of many multi-sport athletes among his teammates.
Almost all current team members played in the middle school squash clubs at Central, Western and Eastern Middle Schools. Thus, the team looks forward to welcoming a a roster of young, talented players who will come to GHS over the next few years.
The team’s number one ranked player arrived at GHS just this year. 9th grader Ashton Monteiro, who is also nationally ranked and competes among the best nationwide, has made significant contributions to the team. “It’s great to have such an experienced player who can help the team out”, said co-captain junior Kevin Jinno.
The girls team, led by tri-captains junior Christina Keating and sophomores Abby Shropshire and Maya Thakor, had 7 wins and 2 losses. “We have all worked really hard together this year and we hope to continue improving our game,” says Abby. Christina added “I’m very optimistic for next season as we will all be even closer and stronger together. It has been a lot of fun and we are so excited for nationals!”
According to World Squash Federation, a governing body for the sport, “the game is uniquely modern: you get the best workout in the quickest amount of time.” Kevin adds, “it’s an intense workout and keeps me in great shape.”
On February 1-3, Greenwich Squash participated in the 2019 U.S Team Squash Championships, which took place in Hartford, CT. With approximately 1,500 players from about 180 teams across the country, this national high school tournament was the largest squash tournament ever recorded. “We brought 21 players to Nationals this year. It was a really exciting event and it was great to go and compete as a large team. The girls team won their Division IV title, undefeated through four matches which is a great achievement,” said junior and co-captain Nyle Garg. “Everyone at the tournament has a love for the game and spending time with teammates was a lot of fun”.
Photo Credit: Christina Keating