The William T. Ketcham Jr. Award for Most Improved Player and Most Improved Honorable Mention Awards have been announced for the 2019-2020 junior squash season.
The Ketcham awards are traditionally presented during recognition ceremonies at the end-of-season junior championship events, however, with the postponement of these events due to the COVID-19 epidemic US Squash is announcing the awardees online to recognize them for their meaningful accomplishments.
The William T. Ketcham Jr. Award for Most Improved Player recognizes those who have demonstrated complete dedication to the sport by significantly raising the level of their game. The boy and girl in each division who displayed the largest increase in ranking from March 20, 2019 to February 26, 2020 and were set to compete in the 2020 U.S. Junior Championships received the Award.
2020 William T. Ketcham Jr. Award Recipients:
GU19: Emily Schuster (Improved 29 positions)
BU19: Nick Wilkinson (48 positions)
GU17: Melanie Wang (88 positions)
BU17: John Ho (94 positions)
GU15: Alexandra Jaffe (89 positions)
BU15: Artemy Mukhin (60 positions)
GU13: Calla Yim (102 positions)
BU13: Maximus Slattery (84 positions)
GU11: Vivienne Sze (49 positions)
BU11: John Russell (94 positions)
The William T. Ketcham Jr. Honorable Mention Award is given to players who displayed the largest ranking increase from March 20, 2019 to February 26, 2020, and were set to compete in the U.S. Junior Silver Championships.
William T. Ketcham Jr. Most Improved Award Honorable Mention Recipients:
GU19: Isabelle Lee (Improved 59 positions)
BU19: Vivek Sunkam (77 positions)
GU17: Kylie Kim (84 positions)
BU17: Alexander Scott (136 positions)
GU15: Henriette Schminke (141 positions)
BU15: Ronak Nagar (167 positions)
GU13: Margaret Ruger (116 positions)
BU13: Christian Keng (144 positions)
GU11: Eloise Oakley (77 positions)
BU11: Mattias Liem (90 positions)
US Squash congratulates all award recipients. Though these awards could not be presented in person, it does not diminish the hard work and dedication to squash demonstrated by each player. Please read below for reactions submitted by many of these student-athletes.
Nick Wilkinson (BU19):
Winning this award shows me that all my hard work this season has paid off. It’s hard to realize that I’ve improved a lot because I’m playing all the time so I don’t notice much difference day to day, but the award shows me that I have made a lot of improvement over the season. In addition to training with partners and my coach, Leroy Leong, I put time in on my own. I focused on my movement and speed by doing as much ghosting and lifting as I could.
Vivienne Sze (GU11):
Winning this award to me means to me working hard and having fun! And I love playing squash! The best part of squash is getting better and practicing. A change I made with my coach was keeping an open face on my forehand. I am grateful to everyone I know who has supported my love for squash.
Calla Yim (GU13):
Winning this award means a lot to me. Six months ago, I signed up for a silver tournament. I was especially excited for this tournament, since I was confident that I would win. I had trained so hard to win a silver tournament, for it had been a big goal for a long time back then. Everything was planned, until something unexpected happened. I had to get an emergency surgery, which meant that I had cancel my upcoming tournaments. I was devastated because I felt prepared for this silver tournament. The day after my surgery, I signed up for another upcoming silver tournament. This had motivated me to work harder because I wanted to come back strong from the surgery. I knew I had to do well and redeem myself from my surgery, and I ended up winning the tournament. That day was the day I realized to always work hard, and that my goals are not too far to achieve if I just keep pushing myself. Winning this award really shows how much my hard work has paid off throughout this season. I am very appreciative that US Squash is recognizing me as a squash player and this motivates me to work even harder this upcoming season. Thank you so much!
Melanie Wang (GU17):
Receiving this award means a great deal because it’s shown my growth as a player this past season. It’s also motivated me to continue to make progress. All the little improvements I’ve made have accumulated up, and I feel like my hard work has paid off. This year, I’ve been focusing a lot on strategy which led to my major improvement. I’d like to thank all the people who have helped me improve — my family, coaches, and all the people that I’ve played with in this past year. I’ve learned something from each and every one of them. Without their support and guidance, I would never had made so much progress. Additionally, I hope everyone can stay healthy and motivated during this time of great uncertainty. Stay safe!
Alexander Scott (BU17 Honorable Mention):
I started playing squash 4 years ago just for fun, but didn’t really take it seriously until moving from the UK to Louisville three years ago. Since arriving in America I have trained regularly with the Zenith Squash Academy, under the coaching of my Dad, Lee Scott. Winning this award has made all of that hard work worthwhile and really shown me my improvement. It also encourages me to continue with the hard work to improve my ranking and rating, hopefully, leading to the chance to play college squash. I would like to thank my Dad for all the hard work, support, and encouragement that he has given me. I would also like to thank US squash for the recognition of my hard work, with the William T. Ketcham Jr Award.
Ronak Nagar (BU15 Honorable Mention):
Winning this award means a lot to me as I have been working towards this degree of improvement for a long time. The element that led to my great improvement was focus and my passion for the sport. Once I was able to maintain a calm state of mind, I was able to focus on the accuracy and consistency of my technique. I still have a lot of room for improvement which I hope to achieve in the near future.
Henriette Schminke (GU15 Honorable Mention):
Winning this award means so much to me because it reflects the amount of work, I have put into improving this season 2019/2020. It also shows that it is never too late to start as I just started playing squash competitively less than a year and a half ago in September 2018. This last season I have worked specifically on improving my technique and my footwork along with raising my overall game. I would like to thank Alex Stait (Agnes Irwin), Lyall Patterson (S2), the whole S2 squash coaching team and all of their players, and my family because I wouldn’t have been able to achieve what I did during this year without all of them.