The National Interscholastic Team Squash Championships returns for its second iteration, with the 2022 event increasing access for players through non-traditional team formats. The Interscholastics will be held January 28-30 at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center in Philadelphia.
The inaugural Interscholastics, held in 2020, focused on creating competitive opportunities for programs with junior varsity, B or C teams. The 2022 event will now expand on this model by offering players who may not have enough players at their own school, or limited competitive outlets in their area, to form a team with players from other schools. Squash continues to rapidly develop outside of its tradition geographic homes, and these emerging areas—as well as new teams in major squash regions—are interested in participating in a national team event. However, many do not have enough players from the same school to form a team, and they may not have other school teams to compete against.
The Interscholastics will provide competitive opportunities for these players and teams to assist in their development and sustainability in the sport. An alternative option which encourages players from emerging areas, or from non-school based programming to compete nationally, is now available. As these emerging teams develop, many of them will build new bases of players at singles schools and be able to transition to the U.S. High School Squash Championships. In addition to providing competitive opportunities for emerging areas, the Interscholastics will continue to welcome programs that have multiple teams including Junior Varsity, B, C or D squads.
One example of an emerging region utilizing the hybrid team format to compete in the National Interscholastics is the North Atlanta School (NAS) in Georgia. Organized by Alireza Sanaei at Life Time Johns Creek in north Atlanta, the NAS team will field players from numerous schools and a range of new and experienced players and ages. After deciding to form one team, interest levels exceeded expectations and a second team was formed and a selection tryout was held to provide the opportunity for competition within the teams.
“There has been no school squash activity in our area, so we are pioneers to create a team for the very first time and compete in the Interscholastics,” Sanaei said. “Squash is a passion for these kids and now forming a team together just created a totally different atmosphere to train together on a more regular and disciplined manner, but also to feel closer to each other and have more fun through working together and supporting each other. They are super excited to be a part of a squash team for the very first time, and also get to travel to the Specter Center as a group, spend time together and play in an important national championship for three days. We have already started practice sessions for the team and everyone has been committed to them with the goal of improving their games further until the championship dates. This is such a priceless experience for these kids that I am sure will keep them part of the U.S. squash family for a lifetime.”
Registration for the National Interscholastic Team Squash Championships is now open on the tournament page. For inquiries about fielding a hybrid team at the Interscholastics, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.