The 2022 U.S. High School Championships–the world’s largest squash tournament–culminated with two dramatic 4-3 finals as the Kent School dethroned three-time defending champions Brunswick to earn the program’s first boys national title, while Greenwich Academy edged Baldwin to extend their national title streak to six Sunday, February 28, at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center in Philadelphia.
169 teams contested the seventeenth High School Nationals at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center, Penn Squash Center, Episcopal Academy, Germantown Cricket Club and Berwyn Squash & Fitness. The eleven divisional champions represented seven states–Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
The division one finals came down to the wire on both ends of the Specter Center and were a testament to team squash with the boys final decided by the No. 1’s, and the girls final decided by the No. 7’s.
The Kent School (Connecticut) will be the seventh different school engraved on the Justi Cup after fulfilling their top seeding in the program’s first national final.
Frederico Sosa, Hollis Robertson and Lachlan Sutton provided wins in the 3-5 positions to put the lions one win away from clinching the title. With the score level at 3-all, the No. 1’s David Costales and Brunsick’s Tad Carney decided the title in front of a packed gallery on the west glass court. Costales went on to clinch the title 12-10, 6-11, 11-6, 11-5 in fifty-seven minutes.
“It feels amazing to win our first title,” said Nikhil Seth, Kent head coach. “This has been a huge work in progress and a long season, and has been a few years in the making. It’s been nice that we were able to have a full season this year. Today’s match was the culmination of a lot of hard work. Credit to the boys for fighting hard and beating Brunswick four times this year, which no one’s done. Each match was incredibly close and well fought by both sides. Credit to all of the Brunswick players as well, all of them played their hardest and are incredible competitors, and it was great squash to watch, which is the best part of it. Credit to all of our boys from number twelve all the way up to one, it was a team effort. It’s been an amazing weekend, this is a huge tournament and a lot goes into it and we’re so happy it’s back.”
Shortly after the Justi Cup was decided, Greenwich Academy extended its remarkable record of six straight national titles and the school’s thirteenth since the Patterson Cup’s inception in 2005. Unlike previous years, GA entered the tournament as the two seed with Philadelphia’s Baldwin leading the draw as top seeds. Wins from GA’s top two Emma Trauber and Charlotte Pastel, and a crucial five-gamer decided 11-9 in the fifth Grace Fazziga at No. 5 gave the Gators three wins to set up the decisive No. 7 match. Madeline Oh clinched the title for GA 11-3, 11-7, 11-3.
“It’s such an amazing feeling, I’m so proud of every single one of our girls,” said Luke Butterworth, Greenwich Academy head coach. “I’m over the moon not just to win, which is awesome and it was an amazing match, but what I was so impressed by was how the girls trusted every word that we said to them. They put themselves on the line, there were some amazing wins when our backs were up against the wall and we just showed that the underdog mentality can still work with the retaining champions, and now we’ve won it again. COVID has been so difficult for everyone. Just seeing how the girls have stuck to their squash and training as best as they could. I remember doing zoom workouts with them all and then having to play in masks for a full year, and now to come to the world’s best facility and to have this occasion against a strong team and home crowd–the girls stepped up. This is our sixth straight national title and it’s really special. I’d like to dedicate this title to all of the girls who have come through the team during my time at GA, they’re the ones that set this up and inspired us to play with heart and passion to represent Greenwich Academy. I’d also like to thank my incredible assistant coach Jamie Sutcliffe, and US Squash for hosting the world’s largest squash tournament.”