Celebrating the Class of 2023: First 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 2023 of this ongoing series. If you are a Class of 2023 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 2023 while supporting US Squash’s junior development programs by making a gift to the 2023 Senior Class Gift Initiative. Learn more here.

Naomi Jefferson-Sambanis | WILLIAMS COLLEGE
My junior squash career has been one of my life’s most pivotal and influential experiences throughout my childhood. From such a young age, through the ups and down, squash has taught me valuable lessons in sportsmanship, hard work, and persistence. I have learned how to balance competition with community, creating many friendships I will cherish forever. I look forward to continuing my squash journey in the college world.
I’ve learned many lessons through playing junior squash such as the importance of putting in effort, facing one’s fears and the value of persistence.  As an individual sport, these lessons come with the territory.  Playing as part of a team in high school taught me leadership and allowed me to play for something bigger than myself.  For me, though, the best thing about playing squash has been all the people I’ve met along the way.  Off-court time spent with teammates and friends and all the guidance from the amazing coaches I’ve been fortunate to work with – these are the things I’ll remember best and what I most look forward to continuing in college.
Rashi Goverdhanam | YALE UNIVERSITY
During my years in junior squash, I have learnt to be resilient, importance of sportsmanship, and self-discipline, and hope to carry these values in my journey to college squash. Through my losses and wins, I have developed lifelong friendships and relationships that I will forever cherish. I would like to thank my parents, teammates, coaches, and US Squash for all their support and love throughout my time as a junior squash athlete. They have given me endless opportunities and I could not have come this far without them. I am so excited to pursue the sport and meet new people next year at Yale.
Gavin Frechette | BUCKNELL COLLEGE
Throughout my junior squash career, I have made numerous friendships and had many educational experiences. Being part of a squash team throughout middle school and high school allowed me to create some of my closest friendships. The team trips throughout the season to away games and the time spent together at nationals allowed for a lot of team bonding over the course of a season. Additionally, spending time with those teammates outside of the school season through clinics and camps facilitated the strengthening of those relationships. Squash has also allowed me to gain experience as a coach, in a position of leadership. The opportunities my coaches and mentors have given me to step up into a leadership role has given me great life experience. My junior squash experience has provided me with great friendships and many life lessons. Squash has been a positive outlet for me for many years and I plan to continue to play through college.
My past 9 years as a junior squash player have shaped my present and future. No matter what I do with my life, I know squash will be an indelible aspect of it, and that’s thanks to the many unforgettable years of tournaments, teams, and events. Every time I step onto the court, I know that I will learn something about myself and the world around me, and it brings me so much joy to be able to grow through the sport I love. But beyond just the squash, I have also made lasting friendships and relationships through the sport that I will always be grateful for. I will always remember the teams and communities I have been a part of. Furthermore, both my younger brothers also play squash, and the sport has brought me close to them and will connect us in the years to come. US junior squash will always hold a special place in my heart, and I can’t wait for college squash!
Squash has been invaluable. Who would have thought that a sport where you hit a ball against four walls would have morphed into a multifaceted tool to develop my confidence, determination, and composure? I wouldn’t have, almost ten years ago when I first picked up a racquet. Training and competing has seriously helped me maintain balance in my life as an amazing outlet from the rigor of school life, too. Junior squash: it’s been real! And I greatly look forward to continuing to play and compete in college squash. I’m very grateful to have had Junior squash as such an integral part of my life, and look forward to seeing what’s next!