There’s dominance and then there’s the level of play the Brunswick School squash team has displayed this season.
Following an undefeated regular season in which they decisively defeated each one of their opponents, there was no stopping the Bruins once again at the 2019 HEAD U.S. High School Team Squash Championships.
If it was possible after its perfect regular season, Brunswick raised its game even more during the three-day, national tournament, resulting in another winner’s trophy — the Justi Cup in its possession.
In a rematch of last year’s Division I final at the U.S. High School Team Squash Championships, top-seeded Brunswick beat second-seeded Haverford, 6-1, Sunday at Trinity College’s George A. Kellner Squash Center in Hartford.
The Bruins have won the national title four of the past five seasons, with three of their victories coming against Haverford (Pa).
On its way to advancing to the championship match, Brunswick registered 7-0 victories against Taft School, Hotchkiss School and Deerfield Academy.
“This was probably the most dominant performance in the tournament ever,” said Bruins coach Jim Stephens, who has guided Brunswick to all of its titles. “We won 7-0, 7-0, 7-0 and 6-1. We have never done that before and it’s never been done before in this tournament.”
With Brunswick holding a 3-0 lead in title tilt against Haverford, Bruins junior Dana Santry notched a well-earned 3-2 win against Christian Shah (11-3, 11-7, 9-11, 9-11, 11-9). His Bruins teammates immediately swarmed him in celebration.
“It’s my third year playing Haverford in the national finals and I played the same kid last year and it also went five games,” Santry said. “It’s amazing to win with some of my closest friends and teammates, who worked so hard for this the last year.”
Playing at the No. 7 spot, freshman Tad Carney gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead in the match, posting a 3-0 victory (11-3, 11-2, 11-4) victory against Nicholas Parente.
“Beating Haverford, one of our biggest rivals, is big, so it’s nice to pull out the win,” Carney said.
The Division I finals were held at the squash center’s two main courts and had large viewing areas that were loaded with spectators.
“It was a good weekend for me and the whole team,” Carney said. “It was a unique experience, it’s something I’ve been a part of.”
Brunswick junior Brian Leonard continued his undefeated season, winning his match at No. 2 against Haverford’s Graham Joyce, 11-3, 11-4, 11-5.
“I knew today’s match was going to be a tough match, since I’ve played Graham many times in the junior circuit,” Leonard said. “Prior to the match, we had a team discussion, focused our thoughts and got ourselves ready to play,” Leonard said.
The venue, which is one of college’s best squash facilites, was also inspiring.
“Trinity is known as a great college for squash, they’ve won many national championships and it’s an honor to play in this facility,” Leonard said.
The Bruins already clinched the match by the time junior Nick Spizzirri played his No. 1 match against Spencer Yager. That certainly didn’t decrease the match’s intensity. In a well-played match, Spizzirri beat Yager, 14-12, 7-11, 11-9, 11-3.
“Every time I come to high school nationals, I get extra hyped up, sometimes that could be a bad thing, sometimes a good thing, luckily today, it was a good thing,” Spizzirri said. “It was a tough game, Spencer fought really hard.”
Pierce Henderson, a junior, played well for Brunswick in a 3-2 loss at the fourth spot (7-11, 11-7, 13-11, 6-11, 11-8), while Coulter Mackesy won in four games for the Bruins at No. 5 (11-7, 4-11, 11-5, 11-7) and Mac Aube swept to a 3-0 win at No. 6 (11-6, 11-8, 11-5).
“It feels great to be with the dynasty that coach Stephens has created,” Mackesy said. “All these guys cheering for each other all the parents here really helped us in this match. It’s a really tight group of players.”
Captained by senior Will Jones, the Bruins have shown a knack for pulling out close games all season.
“I attribute it to the hard work we put in,” Santry said. “We believe we are as prepared as any team and it really pays off toward the end of the matches.”
Brunswick’s B team of PK Keller, David Beeson,
Patrick Keller, Andrew Aube, Charles Heath, Caleb Boateng and Walter Huffman placed seventh in the tourney’s Division I bracket.
“That shows the depth our team has,” Stephens said. “They are all tournament tough and they have great focus, especially when matches get tough.”