Jan. 24, 2018: The Bronxville Middle School squash team traveled this past weekend to Yale University in New Haven to compete in the U.S. Squash Middle School National Team Championship. Bronxville sent five teams, a total of twenty-five players, to the event, more than any other school.
There were 41 teams from throughout the country that participated in the tournament, and Bronxville’s first team finished an impressive fourth in the top division, making it the fourth best team in the nation. This team was made up of eighth-graders Molly Stoltz and Charlie Vorbach, seventh-graders Charlie Clifford and Ronin Kaplan, and sixth grader Thomas Sheumack. The team dropped only one match on the way to the semifinals, where they lost to defending champions Brunswick School of Greenwich. The team fell in a close 3-2 match to Greenwich Country Day in the 3-4 playoff. Of particular note in the Greenwich match was Molly Stolz’s impressive win over Greenwich’s #1 player, Christopher Kenny, in a hard-fought five-game battle.
Bronxville's second team also had a great performance, with a second-place finish in Division 2. This team included eighth-grader Katie Hennessy, seventh graders Wilder Burgin, Brooks Clifford, and Eleanor Clifford, and sixth grader Rustin Wiser. This team pulled out 3-2 victories in every match before losing a close 3-2 match to Belmont Hill in the finals. Of particular note in the Belmont match was Ellie Clifford’s win over Christopher Egan in which she fought off six match points to win the fourth game 21-19 and ultimately win the match. Bronxville’s Rustin Wiser also sailed through the tournament without losing a game.
Bronxville's third team came into Division 2 unseeded, upset the fourth seed in the quarter-finals, and finished an impressive fourth. This team included seventh-graders Drew Doyle, Theo Evison, and Nicolas Park and sixth-graders Liam Neild and Andrew Shah. This team defeated Greenwich Eastern Middle School and SCH MS Boys Varsity on the way to the semifinals, where they fell to Belmont Hill. They then lost the 3-4 playoff in a close 3-2 match with New Canaan Country School.
Bronxville’s fourth team also had a great weekend, finishing fourth in Division 3. This team, which was unseeded, breezed through its first round with a 5-0 victory over Darien Gold. The team then beat first-seed Lancaster B in its second round with a nail-biting 3-2 win. The team fell in the semifinals to Rye Country Day and ultimately finished fourth overall. This team included eighth-graders Dya Acharjee, Sabrina Latham, and Matthew Rodriguez, seventh-grader Cooper Ackerman, and sixth-grader Jackson Meyercord.
Finally, Bronxville’s fifth team, which was new to nationals-level competition, had a great weekend of competitive matches and hard-fought games. This team included eighth-grader, Susan Xu, seventh-graders Fiona Denning and Lizzie Langhoff, and sixth-graders Scarlett Hine and Andreas Wimmershoff.
Throughout the weekend, the Bronxville teams were coached and encouraged by two phenomenal Bronxville Field Club coaches, Tunde Ajagbe and Juan Vargas, who offered advice on tactics as well as support, encouragement, and humor throughout the tournament.
The Bronxville School squash program is in its eighth year and boasts a varsity and JV team of 18 players and a middle school team of 36 players. The middle school team, which includes beginners to highly ranked players, is coached by top pros from the Bronxville Field Club.
Regarding the success at nationals, Sarah Clifford, the current parent coordinator for the Bronxville program, commented, “To have one team finish fourth in the country, one second in its division, and two other fourth-place finishes is truly impressive. The kids played hard on the court, supported each other off the court, and had so much fun all weekend.”
Clifford thanked the Bronxville Field Club coaches who accompanied the team at nationals along with Supreet Singh and Nayelly Hernandez. “We are so lucky to train at the Bronxville Field Club with this amazing team of coaches who teach and support our kids.” She also offered up special thanks to the parent team managers, Sheila Stoltz, Nick Burgin, David Park, Ranjit Bhattacharje, and Jeff Hine. “These managers made sure the teams were warmed up and ready for their matches, kept everything organized on site, and added their own brand of enthusiasm, coaching, and support to the players. They were outstanding.”
"Finally, I can’t understate the importance of the great support we receive from Karen Peterson, our school, coaches, and facilities, as well as parents' willingness to finance the program in our success," said Clifford. “It’s absolutely vital.”
Pictured here in order: Bronxville's first team; Bronxville's second team with Coach Juan Vargas receiving trophies as division finalists at the awards ceremony; Bronxville's third team; Bronxville's fourth team; Bronxville's fifth team; Bronxville's first team with Coach Tunde Ajagbe from the Bronxville Field Club
Pictures provided by Bronxville Middle School squash team