Thousands of junior squash players of all levels across the country compete and enjoy squash as a regular part of their lives. Each year, hundreds graduate from junior squash while retaining the values practiced in the sport, the close and enduring friendships they have formed, and with an enduring love for squash as a lifelong sport.
Beginning in 2020, US Squash has celebrated the graduating senior class by publishing personal reflections from players on their junior squash careers, and what they look forward to in their next chapter in life and squash. This tradition continues in 2021 with a senior class that has shown remarkable resilience through the challenges presented by the pandemic during their junior and senior years.
Below is the first installment for 2021 of this ongoing series. If you are a Class of 2021 high school senior and have not already submitted your own picture and reflection, please follow these instructions to do so.
Read the first installment here. Read the second installment here.
Chelsea Cho | DARTMOUTH COLLEGE
Junior Squash has taught me lifelong lessons of resilience, hard work, leadership, and sportsmanship. Whether it was spending the weekend with my Andover teammates and coaches at High School Nationals or coming back after a year off from knee surgery, I will always cherish both the ups and downs of this sport and everything that I have learned throughout. I want to thank my family, coaches, and friends for supporting me and I can’t wait to make more lasting memories in college squash.
Jason Lefkort | UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
Since fifth grade, squash has been an important part of my life. I enjoy the game, as well as the camaraderie and diversity of the squash community. Squash motivates me to increase my focus, grit, agility, strength, and stamina as I work to become a better player. Playing an individual match has taught me the discipline and self-reliance necessary to compete one-on-one, and through my experience as a four-year varsity starter, and eventually co-Captain, I have seen the support, encouragement and coaching that comes from being part of a team. I was disappointed that we were unable to participate in Nationals this year, but am extremely grateful for the steps that U.S. Squash and our coaches took to keep us safe during this challenging season. Over the years, as my squash game developed, I brought the lessons I learned on the squash court, including the mindset of hard work and self-improvement, to everything that I do, from sports to academics to life. I know that squash will be a lifelong sport for me.
Casey Ott | UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND
Squash has had a massive impact on who I am today as it helped teach me persevering. A positive memory I have is going to nationals and just being around and supported by the team and coaches. Coach Wright has had the greatest impact on my squash career as he taught me to never quit even if you’re down 2-0 in a match which can equally be applied to
Brecon Welch | HARVARD UNIVERSITY
Through Junior Squash tournaments, clinics, camps, international trips and even reffing I have met a wide range of people and fostered lifelong friendships. The mental and physical challenges of squash have compelled me to be disciplined and self-reliant while the competitive aspects have taught me the importance of sportsmanship and being courteous. During this past year, the resiliency learned from squash enabled me to remain positive and focused, and the connection to my squash community through Zoom and outdoor group workouts kept me active and motivated until we could return to the court. While it’s sad Junior Squash ended this way, I’m very thankful for all of the memories and am extremely excited to continue playing squash in college next year. I’m so grateful to all of the coaches I have worked with and who have undoubtedly helped me improve my game over the years, but I want to thank Shaun Moxham especially for his enthusiasm, wisdom, and input which immediately elevated my game and fortified my love for squash. My mom, however, is definitely the person who has had the most impact on my Junior Squash experience. Besides the time and effort involved in being a squash parent, my mom has given me endless advice and shared invaluable knowledge of the game and competition that she has gained from her own experience as a successful squash player. I will always appreciate the bond that squash has provided for us.
Douglas Conigliaro | TRINITY COLLEGE
After a long year of no competition, the thing I am most looking forward to is being on a team again. Even though squash is an individual sport, I have learned over the past 5 years that it can be enjoyed even more as a team. Hungrier than ever, i can’t wait to explore my squash career in the next phase, college!
Supriya Chang | AMHERST COLLEGE
I love squash because it is constantly evolving and challenging me both physically and mentally. But more than playing, I have fallen in love with the community. Whether that’s team dinners after practice, or going to squash camps every year with a close friend, or bumping into the same players over and over at tournaments, the small world of squash has created so many connections that I will forever cherish.
Emma Carter | UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
Squash has taught me the benefits of hard work and the power of resilience. The sport has allowed me to travel, have unique experiences, and form relationships with people from all over the world. I am so grateful to be able to play in college and know that I will enjoy the friendships and the sport throughout my life.
Margaret Pruett | ST. LAWRENCE UNIVERSITY
The thing I am most excited for is playing squash in college. I was asked to play at St. Lawrence University in NY. I can’t wait to be part of the team and learn more. I have played on high school teams throughout the years and I am super happy to be continuing to do so in college. I love being on a team because every team mate helps each other succeed and better themselves. I’m very excited to continue to improve in every aspect of the game. I’m really looking forward to bettering my abilities and help others do so as well.
Labeeb Ali | BATES COLLEGE
Squash has been a key part of my life since I was eight years old and being from Plano, TX, where ‘Squash” is mainly known for its vegetable qualities. Then I only had two juniors my age to play. However, I stuck with it because of my love of the game. I remember my first US Squash tournament in Potomac, MD, and how much fun it was playing with so many players of my age. That experience highly motivated me to work on my game and push to be the best player. Some ups and downs came along my junior years, especially last year in Covid-19, but I wish I knew that the tough times were only going to make me a stronger person. All along, my dad has been the inspiration for me. And I always strive to make him proud on & off the court. One of my favorite memories from my junior squash career was receiving the ‘Most Improved Player Award – BU13” at the most prestigious Harvard University during US National. When I was called and held the plaque, I knew right then that Squash would be part of me for a long time. Junior Squash was an amazing experience and brought many fond memories with my squash buddies, domestic and internationally, which made me a confident person. I will now be starting a new chapter of Squash in college, making awesome memories with my squash camaraderie.
Maureen Foley | UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA
As I reflect on the years that I spent playing Junior Squash, I am grateful to all the people who have made my journey so memorable— my coaches, parents, and my squash friends. The competition, friendships, and opportunity that squash has offered me has played a huge role in shaping who I am today. Some of my most memorable experiences include representing Team USA at the British Junior Open and winning a division at High School Nationals with my Nichols High School team. I am looking forward to my next chapter of playing college squash at the University of Virginia and reconnecting with so many of the friends I have made playing Junior Squash.
Kacey Mollenkopf | CORNELL UNIVERSITY
Through junior squash, I have learned the valuable life lessons of hard work, dedication, and discipline, while forming friendships with players from all over the country. From disappointments to achievements, I will carry these experiences with me as I transition to college squash. I am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to compete in junior squash and look forward to playing at the collegiate level!
Theresa Kay | WILLIAMS COLLEGE
From competing alongside my teammates to running into friends from the circuit, High School Nationals was by far the best experience I’ve had in my junior squash career. After spending the last 7 years playing on the team at Baldwin, and having it be such a large part of my life, I am excited to continue throughout college!
Merritt Wurts | YALE UNIVERSITY
Squash has taught me almost every skill I know today. It started with my pure joy for the game; all I could think about as a young boy was going to play squash after school. With this joy, I learned to love the game and with that love I learned to respect all of my opponents. I carry sportsmanship with the highest regard, and display it as a sign of admiration for the game. Lastly, squash has taught me how to work. I had never wanted to better myself at something until I felt the potential of my squash game. Squash gave me a drive that I hadn’t felt before. This drive motivated me to put in countless hours outside of practice and each season. I would like to thank all of my coaches and my parents because without them I wouldn’t have learned any of these lessons or had these experiences.
Mac Aube | DARTMOUTH COLLEGE
Growing up in the US Squash community has taught me how to be a competitor while also enjoying the sport of squash. Although I often viewed squash tournaments like business trips, I was able to meet so many new people and make many new friends in the process. The tight knit community of squash is a world of its own. Whether at the Meadow Mill Club, the Payne Whitney Gym or the Murr Center, the same groups of players and coaches from all around the country gather to compete for one trophy: 1st place. What I look forward to most in my future squash career is being able to continue my relationships with these coaches and players while playing for a college and competing on a college team. I can’t wait for the new friendships and and experiences I will be able to make during this next chapter.
Caroline Pellegrino | UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA
Throughout Junior squash, I have learned the lesson of perseverance and passion. During my time as a junior squash player, one of the highlights was getting to experience playing on the U.S Team in the British Open and also traveling to play in the Pioneer and Dutch Tournaments. But most importantly, playing and participating in junior squash has connected me to friendships that will last a lifetime, and I could not be more grateful for how much junior squash has played a role in who I am today.
Shaam Gambhir | UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
I am very grateful for my junior squash experience, as it has given me so many amazing opportunities to grow and develop who I am today. I constantly improved whether l learned to rise to the occasion, or learned to efficiently adapt as new challenges were thrown my way. I especially loved the community of other kids that played squash and appreciate my coaches who have dedicated so much time to teaching me. I will always remember the awesome experience of playing for the US at the British open and for my high school team (Episcopal Academy). It has all truly been a fantastic experience!