The Record

Varsity Squash roars into National Championships

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OH CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN: Squash captains Sanger (left), Morris (center), Tripathi (right)

OH CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN: Squash captains Sanger (left), Morris (center), Tripathi (right)

OH CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN: Squash captains Sanger (left), Morris (center), Tripathi (right)

Edwin Jin

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The Varsity Squash team comes into today’s US Squash National Championships with an 11–3 record. The team will be competing in Div. III throughout the next three days against some of the top high school squash teams in the country.

Co-Captain Siddharth Tripathi (12) said the team has set a strong nationals performance as a key goal this season.

“From the very beginning, the team has worked hard on fitness, doing court sprints, long runs, and interval training,” Tripathi said.

The team prepared this week by playing matches nearly every day. While they are tiring, matches serve as some of the best preparation for the national championships, Ryan Hoang (11) said.

In Wednesday’s match, Head Coach Ron Beller simulated the format of the national competition by using the order of play the Lions will follow at Nationals.

Projected to finish second in a competitive Ivy League, the team enjoyed a successful regular season, winning 11 matches and losing only twice to Poly Prep and once to Dalton. Four different Ivy schools have players ranked in the High School US Squash top 100 rankings. Tripathi and Peter Lehv (10) said the strong competitors in the league made for close matches.

In recent years, the school has developed rivalries with Poly Prep and Hackley on the squash court. The team won both meetings with Hackley this year, breaking a two-year losing streak.

The squash team’s strong results are unsurprising as many of its starting players have climbed to the top of national rankings. Co-Captain Aman Sanger (12) and Lehv are ranked seventh and 159th, respectively.

The squash team attracts nearly all the top players in the school, Sanger said. He believes the camaraderie built in high school squash is useful in preparing for the next level.

Nonetheless, the squash team faces challenges from the new attendance policy, which forces team members to attend nearly all practices. Previously, Sanger had attained more practice time with club training, which ranged from one and a half to four hours. The new policy has caused a dip in performance for the top players.

“It has hurt me as a player because I haven’t been able to see my regular coach as often outside of school,” Lehv said.

Nevertheless, the new attendance policy has also improved the team’s camaraderie, attendance and dynamic, Beller said.

Unlike most squash programs, the Lions have a co-ed team. The school often competes against all-boys teams.

While the majority of male players battle opponents on the court, many female players face an imbalance of opportunity. This year, Sofia Jiang (9) is the only female player in the starting lineup.

Chloe Kim (10) said she feels that boys hit with more power, which girls need to compensate for with more speed. “It strengthens you as a player because they hit so much harder,” Kim said.

However, Beller said the prospect of an all-girls team is in the preliminary stages. “I think it would be a great experience to have our own practices, and compete against other all-girls teams,” Rhea Sanger (10) said.

“I’d love to have an all-girls team, and the girls on the team are really pushing for it,” Kim said.

The possibility of a new team would depend on how many players it can attract, Beller said.

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Varsity Squash roars into National Championships