Dear US Squash Supporter,
Thank you for your past contributions to US Squash. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, we rely on the commitment of our supporters for 20% of the annual budget each year. Your donations allow us to invest in innovation, and drive growth.
While the last update was dominated by the National Championships, the focus over the last few months has been National Team activity.
However, before delving into the specifics, there are also three major strategic developments driven by US Squash which have taken additional shape, and are worth mention, including:
- A new College Squash Association (CSA) announced the election of its Board of Directors. Previously self-governed by two separate women’s and men’s committees made up exclusively of varsity coaches, the elections were the culmination of a year-long process initiated by the formation of a CSA Governance Task Force. The task force served to identify the issues facing college squash, gather the requirements necessary to govern the varsity competition more effectively, and make recommendations for changes.
- England Squash and US Squash, two of the largest national squash federations in the world, announced a comprehensive technology partnership based on the Club Locker platform. The Club Locker system, initially developed by US Squash to serve its domestic needs, now provides the foundation for membership organizations around the world to offer a compelling participatory sports-based value proposition.
- The US Squash Board unanimously expressed its full support for the National Center project, to include twenty courts, a state of the art Learning and Innovation Center, and the U.S. Squash Hall of Fame, all in the heart of University City in Philadelphia. The Board took this step based on the overwhelmingly positive responses about the National Center from the squash community at large over the last several months, as well as the very strong fundraising momentum that has been generated. To date, two-thirds of the $26 million goal has been committed.
On the National Team front, progress continues toward our goal of “Always on the Podium” under the leadership of The Ganek Family Head National Coach Paul Assaiante and Rich Wade, our Senior Director the National Team.
Pan American Junior Championships
Team USA earned a five medal haul, including girls’ silver and boys’ bronze in the final team competition in Asuncion, Paraguay. Two of the medals came in the girls’ individual competition that saw all four Americans progress to the quarterfinals. The top half of the girls draw included an all-Team USA semifinal between top seed Sumrin Mudgil and 5/8 seed Riya Mital, which Mudgil edged in four close games 11-8, 12-10, 13-15, 13-11. Mital earned Team USA a bronze medal in reaching the semifinals. In the final, Mudgil fell short against Mexico’s two seed Dina Anguiano 11-9, 7-11, 8-11, 5-11, earning Team USA’s first silver medal of the competition. The ensuing doubles competition included a run to the semifinals by Team USA’s Jane Pincus & Emily Rose. After a quarterfinal win against El Salvador, Pincus & Rose lost a close semifinal against top-seeded Mexico, earning Team USA a bronze medal.
World Junior Squash Championships
Team USA’s Andrew Douglas and Marina Stefanoni narrowly missed out on reaching the 2017 WSF World Junior Championships semifinals after five-game quarterfinal losses against higher seeded opponents Saturday in Tauranga, New Zealand. Douglas, a 5/8 seed, was on court first against Egypt’s one seed, Youssef Ibrahim. Ibrahim earned an early two game lead, 11-4, 11-3, before Douglas fought back to win the third and fourth games 12-10. In the fifth, Douglas held a 9-7 lead over Ibrahim, at which point the Egyptian rattled off four straight points to win the match in fifty-three minutes. Stefanoni, fourteen years old and a 9/16 seed, followed on court against Japan’s 5/8 seed and two-time U.S. Junior Open champion Satomi Watanabe. The players split two close first games with Stefanoni taking the first 15-13, and Watanabe the second, 12-10. Watanabe then earned a 2-1 lead in the third, 11-8 but Stefanoni forced a fifth game in the fourth, 11-9. Watanabe controlled the fifth to win the match 11-4 in forty-eight minutes. Team USA ended the 2017 WSF World Junior Women’s Team Championship by fulfilling their team seeding with a fifth place finish.
US Squash Academy
The second US Squash Academy picked up where the inaugural Academy left off last summer, attracting top U.S. juniors, college players and professional prospects for two weeks of special Team USA elite performance academy training, July 9-21, at Trinity College. The Academy provided an environment for current U.S. collegiate athletes and recent graduates to train as professionals to prepare them for potential careers in squash. Through exposure to the U.S. National Coaching staff, the athletes are more prepared should they choose to successfully pursue the Elite Athlete Program upon graduation.
The United States vs. Canada: Battle of the Border
Team USA defeated Canada 14-10 to reclaim the Battle of the Border trophy in the international tournament’s fourteenth year at perennial hosts, White Oaks Resort in Niagara-on-the-lake, Canada. Although the main focus was on the ‘Battle’ on the Sunday, the weekend consisted of multiple different sessions as the coaches balance creating teamwork within their own team and developing friendships with the opposing team, as well as some fun evening activities and a trip to the Niagara Falls on Saturday evening. With the National Team programming for US Squash continuing to grow, the Battle of the Border remains one of the focal points as it best prepares players for the World Junior Championships. For many players, the Battle of the Border is the first introduction to representing Team USA in international competition in the U13, U15 and U17 age divisions.
Pan American Championships
Team USA concluded the 2017 Pan American Championships with a total of five bronze medals, including two in the team competition, September 6-9, at the Tortugas Country Club in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The U.S. went in to the team competition having earned three bronze medals: Chris Gordon in the men’s individual draw, Mariam Kamal & Haley Mendez in the women’s doubles draw and Chris Hanson & Faraz Khan in the men’s doubles draw.
Sobhy, Once Down, Is Back Up – Six months ago, the 2016 National Champion and U.S. #1 Amanda Sobhy tore her achilles and was stretchered off court at the Ciudad de Floridablanca tournament in Colombia. She is now back on court, and plans to return to competition some time next year, taking time to ensure that when she does return to high level competition, she is 100% ready and better than ever.
An Increased Emphasis on Sportsmanship – Chet Blitzer, a cartoonish amalgam of 1980’s hardball singles professionals, produced a series of sportsmanship videos, highlighting that sports not only build character, but they also reveal character. Some of Chet’s “Rules of Engagement” cover topics such as pre-match behavior, warming up, refereeing, and the sensitive topic of parental etiquette in a humorous, if quirky, way. To view the videos visit www.chetblitzer.com.
U.S. Open Squash Championships at Drexel University – The highlight of our year, the US Squash staff put forward a tremendous effort during the last two weeks to host our best U.S. Open ever – including the Intercollegiate Doubles Championships, Doubles Day and presentation of the SDA Tournament of the Year award, Arlen Specter Junior Championships, U.S. Open Squash Film Festival, hosting of College Squash Association’s Board and Annual General Meetings, Women in Sports Day, Character in Sports Day, local PSRA and Squash Smarts honors and awards, USOC Player of the Year honors, a National Center initiative celebration with three dozen supporters, the induction of three new Hall of Fame members, the annual District Committee meeting, the US Squash Skill Level Championships, and the highest quality production of a World Series squash tournament in the world with the finals witnessed live by 1,000 attendees and hundreds of thousands live on TV in dozens of countries worldwide.
All of this furthered our mission and our strategic focus on access and participation, community, excellence and sportsmanship.
I again wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for all of your support. Your gifts form the foundation upon which we build our future success.