Five First-Time National Champions Crowned at Women’s Masters

The Northeast, Great Lakes and Canada lift the inaugural City Cup

The 2024 U.S. Women’s Masters Championships produced five first-time champions as the event welcomed a boon in participation from recent years, April 12-14, at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center in Philadelphia.

More than sixty women competed in the U.S. Women’s Masters and Skill Level Championships, which was held as a stand alone event for the first time, and offered skill level draws in addition to the Masters national championships divisions.

View all results one the 2024 U.S. Women’s Masters and Skill Level Championships tournament page. Tournament photography is available on the US Squash Smugmug page. Watch live stream replays on the US Squash Youtube page.

The 2024 U.S. Women’s Masters and Skill Level Championships introduced the City Cup, which was awarded to the city or regions with the most number of points, awarded for both participation and wins. The Northeast, Great Lakes & Canada earned the inaugural City Cup with ninety-four points, topping Boston and the South, Mid & West which both totaled seventy-two points.

The tournament celebrated a historic first with the inaugural staging of a 70+ division. Four women contested the round robin with New Jersey’s Beverly Rayfield topping the group with three wins to capture her first national title, and Boston’s Kathryn MacDonald placing second.

“This year I knew that I was gong to be seventy before the tournament, so I said, ‘this is my year, I’m going to try it,'” Rayfield said. “This was so much fun. I was nervous because I hadn’t played in a long time, and I started working out and playing again to try to get ready for it. Everyone was so nice, the tournament directors were wonderful, everyone was helpful. It’s been a great experience.”

70+ champion Beverly Rayfield and finalist Kathryn MacDonald

In the 65+ division, Kathryn Cowper earned her first national title since 2011, defeating defending champion Carole Grunberg in the final 11-5, 11-5, 11-6. Pittsburgh’s Beth Fedorowich won her first national title in the 60+ division and her fourth in all age groups. Representing the Northeast, Fedorowich fulfilled her top seeding, defeating Boston’s Susan Greene in the final 11-4, 11-8, 11-6.

Boston’s Hope Prockop earned her first national title since 2019 and fourteenth overall, marking her Masters return after an injury-induced hiatus. Prockop defeated Wisconsin’s defending 55+ champion Leslie Cameron 11-8, 11-7, 11-5.

“It’s been a really long journey, it’s been pretty painful physically and emotionally because I love to play squash and this is what I’ve wanted to do,” Prockop said. “I decided a couple weeks ago that it was time to start playing squash again and see what I can do. I’ve been back on the courts for a couple of weeks, and I managed to get through the last couple of days, playing some good matches and moving around the court. I had a little help from my friends who brought me ice bags–it feels really good to be back.  It’s so great to see so many people here this weekend. It’s very inspiring to see some of our older women playing and having a very robust 60 and 65 plus draws and the first 70 plus draw. I hope I’m going to be here as a part of those draws in a decade.”

55+ finalist Leslie Cameron (L) and champion Hope Prockop

Florida’s Nathalie de Champlain celebrated her first Masters title in the 50+ division. De Champlain topped the four-player round robin without dropping a game. New Jersey’s Megumi Fujimoto placed second with a 2-1 record.

“It’s exciting to win my first title, you never consider yourself a 50 plus then one day you just reach that milestone,” de Champlain said. “You get to meet a lot of different people playing this event, that’s what I like about squash–it’s social. You get the chance to see all of the different personalities and watch exciting matches–it’s beautiful.”

Philadelphia’s Narelle Krizek–a World Junior Team Champion with Australia and World Doubles champion–earned her first individual title in any competition in the 45+ division. Krizek defeated Boston’s Szilvia Szombati in the final 11-4, 11-3, 8-11, 11-3.

Canada’s Vanessa Steinwall marked her U.S. Masters debut with her first title. Steinwall captured the title without dropping a game, while Philadelphia’s Victoria Gray placed second with a 3-1 record. Steinwall added a second title in the 4.5 division, fulfilling her top seeding against two seed de Champlain.

Washington, DC’s Sally Pei earned the 35+ title in her first Masters appearance, defeating Boston’s Preeti John in the final 11-5, 11-7, 8-11, 11-5.

Seven age and Skill Level divisions were also held alongside the Masters draws, and contributed to the overall City Cup standings.

Geneva, New York’s Sanna Koivumäki contributed to the Northeast’s City Cup win with two divisional titles. Koivumäki took the 19-35 title without dropping a game as the top seed, and defeated City Cup teammate Pamicka Marinello in a four-game 5.0 final.

After being recognized with the Achievement Bowl on Saturday night, Boston’s Susan Greene added to her achievements on Sunday, defeating the top two seeds on her way to the 4.0 title.

Florida’s Grace Birmingham fulfilled her top seeding in the 3.5 division, defeating Philadelphia’s Molly Clarke in the final. New York City’s Olivia Belda took home the 3.0 title, overcoming Philadelphia’s Louise Duffy in a four-game final.

The 2.5 division produced the tournament’s only five-game final between Binghamton, New York’s Lorraine Bates and Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania’s Joyce McGhee. McGhee pulled off a five game comeback 7-11, 7-11, 13-11, 11-5, 11-5.