HARTFORD — The streak is five and counting and the overall titles is now 13. Indeed, the numbers keep adding up every time the Greenwich Academy squash team visits Trinity College in Hartford to compete in the U.S. High School Team Championships.High school teams obviously have a different look each year due to graduation, but Greenwich Academy’s squash squad produces the same eye-opening results each year at the national tournament, which has become the Gators annual award show.
Since its inception in 2005, the U.S. High School Squash Championships, which includes five 16-team divisions, has seen Greenwich Academy dominate Division I and it put forth another brilliant performance on Sunday.
Displaying its superior depth, top-seeded Greenwich Academy won the Head U.S. High School Squash Championships for the fifth straight season, defeating second-seeded Agnes Irwin School from Rosemont, Pa., 5-2 in the championship match at Trinity College’s George A. Kellner Squash Center.
Undefeated GA registered 7-0 victories against Pingry School and Lawrenceville School in the first two rounds, before posting a 5-2 win against neighborhood rival Sacred Heart Greenwich in Saturday’s semifinal-round.
“Five in a row feels fantastic,” GA coach Luke Butterworth said. “It’s an amazing achievement for the team, coaches and school, it’s awesome.”
The Gators, who have topped Agnes Irwin for the national title three years in a row, clinched the match when senior Emma Carney beat Katherine Glaser, 3-1. Carney, who will play squash at Stanford University next season, won her match against Glaser at the No. 1 spot, 11-9, 11-8, 5-11, 11-9.
She was greeted with congratulatory hugs and high fives from her cheering GA teammates immediately after she won the final point.
“I was definitely super nervous,” said Carney, also a tennis star at GA. “Katherine is actually a good friend of mine, we play a lot and she has a winning record against me. I think we were both nervous, but I tried to forget everything on the outside.”
After dropping the third game, Carney came out strong in the fourth game, holding the lead throughout. Her victory gave the Gators a 4-2 advantage in the match.
“Definitely hearing all of the cheering outside the court from my teammates and friends helped a lot,” Carney said. “Being a part of this team was wonderful, I wish I had more time. Luke has been great, our team has been great. It’s a pretty new team this year, but they all stepped up to the challenge.”
Said Butterworth: “For Emma to clinch the match and get that big win was special too. It was nice to see her do that as a senior.”
Two of those teammates that rose to the occasion were junior Brecon Welch and freshman Emma Trauber. Welch won her match at the third spot against Agnes Irwin’s Rachel Mashek, 12-10, 11-9, 11-9. Nearly every point in each game was hard-fought.
“I’m really excited, because in past years I was an alternate, which means I was playing 8 or 9, so I haven’t played in the finals before,” Welch said. “This was one of those matches, where on paper, it seemed like she was going to win. Going into the match, I knew she was good in the middle and getting a lot of drops. But I kept the rallies going.”
Trauber (No. 4) came back to top Margaux Comai, 8-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-7.
“At the beginning, I was very nervous, but once I settled in, it was a lot of fun,” Trauber said. “It definitely wasn’t an easy match, I had never beaten her before, so it was exciting.”
In one of the matches’ most competitive matchups, Olivia Walsh of Agnes Irwin edged GA senior Binney Huffman, 3-2, at No. 2. Huffman won the first and fourth games, 11-7, 11-9, respectively. Walsh won the second game, 11-6, and posted 11-2 and 11-9 wins in the third and fifth games.
Huffman will soon head to Harvard, where she will play on the squash team.
“The seniors on the team had won it the last three years and we have new members on our team, so I’m happy they have gotten to experience this,” Huffman said. “I’m just so happy to win another title with everyone.”
Junior Lindsay Westerfield, who is in her second season on the GA squad, lost a tough 3-2 decision to Catherine Costin (8-11, 11-6, 11-4, 10-12, 6-11) in the No. 5 match.
“I am so happy, I lost in five, so I was scared that may have been the deciding match, but Emma brought it up and came through,” Westerfield said. “I am so proud of this team. My teammates provide such a big inspiration to me. I look up to them on and off the court.”
Like Welch and Trauber, seniors Megan Meyerson and Penny Oh are in their first season playing on Greenwich Academy’s varsity A team.
The Columbia University-bound Meyerson was a 3-0 winner at No. 6 against Devon Glaser (11-6, 12-10, 11-4).
“It’s so much fun to play for this team,” Meyerson said. “I have loved getting to know these girls as teammates and having them help me become a better squash player.”
Oh, who will continue her squash career at the University of Pennsylvania next season, won her No. 7 match against Grace Flaherty, 3-1 (11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 11-5).
“It feels so good to win nationals my senior year,” Oh said. “For me, it has been important to be part of a team, it’s different than playing the sport as an individual in tournaments outside of school. It’s nice to have teammates cheering for you and supporting each other.”
“All of our performances, even the tough losses, were tough performances,” Butterworth said. “Our team stayed so calm and their determination and composure got them through.”