Written by Guest Contributor
Mar. 19, 2014: This past weekend, Bronxville sent a dozen junior squash players to the prestigious U.S. Junior Squash Championships in Princeton, NJ. The top 32 players in each age group across the country qualify for the tournament, and Bronxville was well represented: Lainey Nield and Molly Stoltz (girls under 11), Julia Curran, Pippa Fraser, and McKenna Stoltz (girls under 13), Sam Charlton, Harry Charlton, Tyler Mackesy, and Conner Stoltz (boys under 13), Ryan Murray (boys under 15), and Sam Epley and Pierson Broadwater (boys under 19). In addition, John Epley qualified in the boys under 15 age group but had to withdraw because of injury.
Beyond the size of the local contingent, the results were equally impressive. In the boys under 15 division, number-one seed Ryan Murray won the final in a tough five-game match against third-seeded Patrick McElroy from Brookline, MA. Ryan claimed the number-one spot in his age group in January, so this final win was the well-deserved cap on a terrific season.
In the girls under 11 division, nine-year-old Molly Stoltz won a five-game nail-biter in the semifinal before falling to Brecon Welch of Greenwich, CT, in the final. This is an amazing result, considering that Molly will still qualify for the age group next year.
Tyler Mackesy also had a great tournament in the boys under 13 division. Tyler had two tough five-game early-round matches (one against Conner Stoltz of Bronxville) before losing in the semifinals to the eventual winner and number-one ranked Mateo Giraldo of Stamford, CT. Nevertheless, he came back to take third place against Dana Santry of Greenwich, CT.
Finally, Lainey Nield, participating in her first national championship, won the plate in the girls under 11 division.
In addition to hosting the tournament, US Squash announced its annual awards for sportsmanship and improvement. Sam Epley was awarded the William T. Ketcham, Jr. Award for most improved in his age group. This award recognizes qualifying players (one in each age group) who "demonstrated complete dedication to the sport by significantly raising the level of their game." In the last twelve months, Sam improved his national ranking in the boys under 19 division by an amazing 84 spots to qualify for the tournament and put himself in the top 15 in the country. This is particularly impressive since Sam only started playing tournament squash three and a half years ago. It is clear that no one could be more deserving of an award for dedication.
Pictured here: Tyler Mackesy, Molly Stoltz, and Ryan Murray.
Photo by Jennifer Mackesy