Celebrating the Class of 2022: Second Installment

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.

Below is the first installment for 2022 of this ongoing series. If you are a Class of 2022 high school senior and have not already submitted your own picture and reflection, please follow these instructions to do so.

Please consider honoring members of the Class of 2022 while supporting US Squash’s junior development programs by making a gift to the 2022 Senior Class Gift Initiative. Learn more here.

I started playing squash ten years ago when I was only eight. So much time has passed, but squash still has the same role in my heart as it did on day one: something I love and know I want to keep getting better at. At first, I played simply because it was fun, but as the years went by, I played and started competing because I wanted squash to be my thing, something I was good at. Most of all, I wanted to get better. Junior squash tournaments allowed me to see how much I had grown and at the same time, figure out what I still needed to work on; it was a great way to gauge my progress. In the process of trying to get better and as I began competing, I came to know fellow players as well as coaches and a completely new community I never would have known existed if I hadn’t picked up a racquet, began playing, and started competing. I’ve met so many bright, intelligent, and hardworking individuals and I’ve found comfort and a community in these players, coaches, and staff. I wouldn’t be who I am today without squash and without this extraordinary community, so thank you players, coaches, and US Squash for making this experience so monumental and relevant to not just me, but to each and every junior squash player. Although my junior squash journey is over, I’m excited to continue playing and competing at college!
Squash has opened so many doors for me. I had the opportunity to represent my team in Urban Nationals. Most importantly, squash has helped me become a more responsible and engaged community member.
Squash has always been such an important part of my life and without a doubt has molded me into the person I am now. From figuring out how to deal with competition and struggles all the way across the country to learning how I can maintain consistency at home, squash has forced me to grow in ways I would never have gotten the chance to any other way. On top of that, the teammates, coaches, and friends that I’ve met over the past 10 years have become some of the closest relationships I’ve made. They made every practice, match, and tournament special and turned squash into more than just a sport for me. I will always be so grateful for what squash has given me both on and off the court and I am so excited to play in college and beyond – thank you!
Junior Squash helped me grow not only as an athlete but also as a person. Through squash, I was able to learn perseverance (especially during the pandemic), hard work, and the realization of how I was only here through the support of others. It was Junior Squash where I made close friends and fell in love with the community the game created. I am so proud and honored to be a part of this group.
Lars Barkman | MIT
Playing US Squash was an amazing experience. It gave me the preparation I needed to play squash in college and introduced me to many amazing people and lifetime friends. Thank you US Squash.
US Squash junior tournaments have been an integral part of my life for over eight years. I’ve learned a number of invaluable skills from squash, such as discipline in my daily routine, grit in adverse situations, and grace in both victory and defeat. I would like to thank my parents for always supporting my squash ambitions, my coaches for helping me improve my game, and US Squash for its dedication to improving junior squash in the US. I look forward to continuing my playing career at Princeton University this September.
In eighth grade, I severely injured my dominant (right) hand, forcing me to halt my peaked tennis career for almost two years. I hesitantly picked up squash to fulfill my school’s sports requirement. However, I had to train myself to play with my non dominant–left–hand. Playing squash with my non-dominant hand allowed me to explore my versatility and another side of myself that I would not have been able to without failure. I had unintentionally practiced the art of aikido—I converted my energy at tennis to determination in squash. None of this could have been possible without Rob and Narelle Krizek, who were there for me when I first learned to hit off of the back wall until the final match of my junior squash career this past winter. I know that the lessons I have learned from junior squash will help me succeed as I begin a new chapter of my education and life. Thank you to my coaches and my teammates for everything, and of course, my family for supporting me through it all.
Playing junior squash over the last eight years has influenced my life in so many positive ways. My junior squash journey has taught me sportsmanship, resilience, independence, leadership, perseverance, and many more valuable lessons. I will never forget the strong friendships I have made with fellow competitors and I cannot wait to continue competing against many of them in college. I want to thank my parents, coaches, and the rest of the squash community for being an integral part of my growth not only on the court, but off the court as well.
Playing junior squash has been such an incredible and transformative experience for me. I have been able to make such great friends both on and off the court that I look forward to competing against next year in college. Squash has taught valuable lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I am very grateful to US Squash, my coaches, and my family for helping me for the last 10 years.