Four years, four championships.
That’s what the end result has been for the Greenwich Academy squash team in its past four appearances at the U.S. High School Team Squash Championships.
This weekend, the Gators are hoping to claim the Patterson Cup for the fifth straight season — the trophy that goes to the tournament’s U.S. Division I champion.
The U.S. High School Team Squash Championships gets underway at Trinity College in Hartford Friday when the opening round is held. The 16-team Division I bracket continues with Saturday’s quarterfinals and semifinals, then concludes with Sunday’s title match.
Undefeated Greenwich Academy is seeded No. 1, in Division I.
“Our team is very excited and they are taking nothing for granted,” said GA coach Luke Butterworth, who has coached the squad to four national titles in his five seasons at the helm. “Being the defending champion you always have that element of pressure to succeed. We have to take one match at a time and one step at a time and have confidence.”
GA earned its fourth consecutive U.S. championship in 2019 when it posted a 5-2 win over out of state rival Agnes Irwin School in the title match.
The Gators sport a new-look lineup this season, due to the graduation of twins Claire and Haley Aube and India and Lucy Stephenson, all of whom are competing at the collegiate level.
“This is a young group and a slightly inexperienced squad in terms of competing in this tournament,” Butterworth said. “They are eager to get out there and give it their best this weekend. This is a new experience for some of our players.”
It’s familiar territory, however for No. 1 player Emma Carney. A senior, who will take her squash skills to Stanford University next season, Carney has helped key the Gators’ championship teams the past several seasons.
“Emma is a good, strong No. 1, who will come up against some tough competition in the tournament,” Butterworth said. “She will lead the team as well as she always has.”
Senior Harvard University-bound Binney Huffman, who won her match at the 2019 national tournament against Agnes Irwin, 3-1, at the No. 4 spot, plays at No. 2 for GA.
“She’s had a great season and is ready to pick up some great performances this weekend,” Butterworth said of Huffman.
Junior Brecon Welch, who also plays on GA’s soccer team, has found her niche in her first season at the third spot in the lineup.
“She was with us at the national tournament last year as an alternate player, so she has stepped up at the No. 3 spot and provided some big wins,” Butterworth said.
Freshman Emma Trauber is force at the fifth spot, as is junior Lindsay Westerfield at No. 6. Westerfield won the clinching match in the finals against Agnes Irwin last winter.
Senior Megan Meyerson, who will play squash at Columbia next season, and Penny Oh, both of whom flourished on the varsity B team a year ago, have succesfully filled the role at Nos. 6 and 7. Senior Cornell-bound Charlotte Gillis and junior Bella Trauber are GA’s two alternates.
“We have great depth at GA,” Butterworth said. “Some of the players on our A squad played on on our B team last year, so this is their chance to shine and they are ready to give it everything they’ve got. We know it’s not going to be easy, we are going to come up against strong teams. So we have to be on our toes and everyone has to do their individual jobs.”