With a record number of 22 students – boys and girls – the Rye Middle School Squash Club has nearly doubled since last year. Organized by enthusiastic parents, the group consists of two squads and a steady schedule of practices and matches from November through February.
This year, the club has made Westchester Squash in Mamaroneck a home base, where Dean Young and occasionally Bryan Patterson, coach at Fordham University, work with the players. Some are new to the sport and others more experienced, yet they bond together, have fun, and strive for improvement. Practice has paid off, and Rye has won matches against Hackley, Eastern and Western Middle schools in Greenwich, City Squash, and Bronxville. Earlier in the season, the team was successful in a jamboree at Yale against other public school teams and tied with New Canaan and Darien. Their only losses in regular matches were to the very seasoned Brunswick and Stanwich schools.
This year, the club sent two teams of six players to Yale for the competitive U.S. Squash Middle School Team Championships, which drew 38 teams from across the country for a weekend-long tournament. Nine of the club’s players were participating for the first time. For the past several years, RMS fought hard to stay afloat in the event and two years ago placed third in the second division. This year, they made the plate playoffs in Division II and played a lot of matches against some of the country’s highest-level juniors.
Yet the tournament and the club in general bring broader experiences than squash alone. One of the more meaningful matches took place at Apawamis Club where RMS welcomed a group from City Squash, an inner-city program that provides tutoring, mentoring, and squash lessons to kids who ordinarily wouldn’t have such opportunities.
Hunter Baldwin, who has one son on the high school squash team and another on the middle school team, is happy to see his boys learn and compete for their school at an early age. “Squash is not only great exercise, it’s a life sport.”
– Georgetta L. Morque