Garnet Girls and Boys Finish in Top 10 of their Divisions at National Tourney

The Rye girls’ squash program sent 18 players in two teams to the U.S. High School Nationals, the largest junior tournament in the world with 137 teams competing over the February 11-13 weekend.

Team 1, which moved up to Division III this year, was coached by Art teacher Tony Campbell. They defeated Nardin Academy of Buffalo 6-1 in February 11’s opening match on the blue glass courts of Hartford’s Trinity College,  “the new epicenter of collegiate squash,” as Campbell put it. The Garnets fell to Boston-area Winsor School, eventual division champs, 5-2 in their next match, February 12 at Wesleyan College in Middletown.

“The girls competed with heart and determination, taking on several established prep school programs, to finish eighth in our division of 16,” Campbell said. “They competed valiantly against Manhattan’s Brearley School Saturday afternoon, but fell just short in a comeback bid from 2-0 down. It was a gut-wrenching 4-3 loss, with five matches going to a deciding fifth game.” Emma Jennings took both her matches.

Team 2, coached by John Griffin, played in Division IV (for up-and-coming programs and those fielding more than one team), and took on Poly Prep, Darien High School, Greens Farms Academy, and Conestoga High from outside Philadelphia in a round-robin bracket. The Garnets finished 3-2, bageling Poly Prep twice by 7-0 scores and topping Darien in a thriller, 4-3. Charlotte Goldman ended up with an unblemished 3-0 record while Emily Dowling went 2-1.

“The team made new connections with several schools from the Northeast,” Campbell told us. “We plan to expand our regular-season schedule next year as a result of the relationships established at this extraordinary event.”

The championships were once again an eye-opening experience for the boys’ team. Division finalists for the past two years, Rye hoped to claim a title this year. Those hopes were dashed in battles against highly competitive teams, but the Garnets managed to hold their own. They reached the finals of the classic plate in Division IV, which put the team in sixth place.

The Rye High School boys’ squash team celebrated finishing sixth in their division at the high school national championships.

“While winning the tournament would have been terrific, we did accomplish one thing,” said head coach Matt Bruno. “We created an atmosphere where kids could experience good competition and share their love and passion for the game with others.”

Most of Rye’s matches took place at Trinity College in Hartford, home of the Bantams, a squash dynasty with 12 consecutive men’s national titles, the nation’s longest winning streak in any sport. In the first round, Rye had no trouble ousting Conestoga from Pennsylvania, 7-0. Next up, however, was St. Andrews from Delaware, a team that defeated Rye two years ago in the division finals. This year it was much closer with St. Andrews winning by just one match, 4-3. The loss put Rye in the classic plate where they defeated Greenwich High School, 5-2. They then fought in a close final against The Hill School from Pennsylvania, and lost 3-4.

A second group competed in Division V and faced tough competition throughout, but defeated Darien High School’s JV, 7-0, in a consolation playoff.

— Mitch Silver and Georgetta Morque


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