Girls Squash finishes 32nd

Adam Frommer, Staff Writer

At High School Squash Nationals, the Girls Varsity Squash team cheered for each other so loudly all weekend that a handful of players even lost their voices, co-Captain Rhea Sanger (12) said. “Everyone was just screaming for one another.”

The team, which was founded last year, finished 32nd in the country at the national’s tournament this past weekend. After competing in the fourth division out of six last year, the team qualified to play in the second division two this season. “It was a really competitive division and we didn’t place as high as we would have wanted to,” Sanger said. While the team lost every match, they did not have high expectations considering the caliber of their division this year, she Sanger said.

For every squash match, seven players compete in a round of games against another team. The first player to win three games wins their individual match, and the team with the most matches won in the end wins.

Amanda Katiraei (11) played the best Squash she’s played in a long time, she said. said that at Nationals, she played the best that she has played in a long time. Having all of the teammates in the arena to cheer her on brought out her best playing by making her feel supported, she said. For Katiraei, performance in games often hinges depends on her mindset at a given moment.

“Are you focused on the game?” she said. All of the made her feel supported as a player. “Other teammates that were coaching me between matches and giving meme , other advice, and I gave them mine,” she said.

The team had a really strong start to their season, having won all 21 individual matches of their first three team competitions, Sofia Jiang (11) said. Since the beginning of the year, two starting players ended up off of the court: co-Captain one Chloe Kim (12) for an injury ankle injury and another Divya Acharjee (10) left the team. As a result, the team had to adapt and take on new playing positions on the team, Jiang said.

Being injured for most of January and February, Kim spent time attending games to cheer on teammates. “Being there at matches and watching everyone else play just made me want to play more,” she said. Kim was able to return to play for Nationals but said that she had a tough time in her first few matches because she had not played in so long.

Jiang plays as the team’s number one player, and Ria Chowdhry (10) plays in the second slot. Since Chowdhry and Jiang play outside of school, they juggled going to school practices with their outside-of-school teams. Since the team has a wide range of skill levels, Chowdhry would often practice with the Boys Varsity Squash team, she said.

Chloe Kim (12) is the team’s co-Captain along with Sanger. Being captain, Sanger said, involves encouraging teammates to be motivated for matches, coaching athletes between games, and supporting everyone.

“It was nice to have captains who really cared about the team,” Chowdhry said. The captains truly cared about the team, Chowdry said.

Because of the individualized nature of the game, squash is not quite as team-oriented as other sports, Katiraei said. “I think inherently we all like doing our own thing, which is why we chose a sport like squash.” Still, it is helpful to practice together as a team. “Nobody wants to do it alone,” she said.

This season, the team had had to learn to get to know each other, Chowdhry said. “It was an issue making sure that we were all friends with each other.” Because to the age range of players and existing friendships, the many players didn’t know one another. Katiraei hopes to improve upon the team dynamic next season, and would like to build up more team camaradertie next season.

For Sanger, Sunday’s ride home from Nationals was filled with mixed emotions, she said. “It was kind of sad coming home and being done.” Still, Sanger is proud of the team’s progress and is excited to see the girls succeed in the coming years, she said.