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Big Blue Squash Competes at National High School Team Championships
adawson

At what Head Coach Ramsay Vehslage describes as the largest squash tournament in the world, with over 200 teams competing at six different venues in and around Hartford, Connecticut, the National High School Team Championships were contested last weekend. Big Blue earned its reputation as a competitor among the top high school squash programs in the nation.

Seeded second in Division 2 (there are 16 teams per division), the Boys' Varsity Squash Team defeated Choate Rosemary Hall (Connecticut), The Westminster Schools (Georgia), Milton Academy (Massachusetts), and Philips Andover (Massachusetts) in the final to secure a #1 standing in their division, and a 17th-place finish overall. (Last year they finished 15th in Division 1.)

"Highlights of the weekend included Alex's [Chiang] epic comeback in the semifinals vs. Milton; Simon Muller's first win at Nationals, also in the semis (and in a match that we won 4-3); and an impressive 4-0 run at #5/#6 from freshman Arjun Sen," reported Coach Vehslage. "The boys played with incredible heart all weekend. They represented Big Blue extremely well both on and off the court, and I could not be more proud of them. We've been working hard all season long, and it's great to see the consistent effort paying off when it mattered the most."

Boys' lineup:
#1 Chris Zachary '19 (co-captain)
#2 Collin Wen '20
#3 Alex Chiang '20
#4 Waleed Nisar '20
#5 Jeffrey Xiao '19 (co-captain)
#6 Arjun Sen '22
#7 Simon Muller '21
#8 Jason Lefkort '21
#9 Nick Zarbin '22

The Girls' Varsity Squash Team faced an equally challenging tournament, for a different reason. In their second match Friday night, they lost #3 Mahek Hemani '21 to injury, and their lineup adjusted accordingly. "It was tough for everyone to pick themselves up emotionally after what happened on Friday, but all of the girls played with a great attitude and fought really hard in the last two matches," said Head Coach Tina Rix-Stout. After two close, 4-3 losses to both Sacred Heart (Connecticut) and Agnes Irwin's (Pennsylvania) JV teams, Big Blue placed 16th in Division 1 (last year they placed 11th in Division I).

"Our freshmen players Katherine, Olivia, and Ainsley all had great showings for their first time at High School Nationals," added Coach Rix-Stout. "Renee dominated in her matches, winning all. Alisa fought hard, playing the most games over the duration of the weekend (17 total)! Mira dealt with a huge amount of pressure in the last two matches, as she was the last player to go on with the overall match score tied at 3-3. She coped with it well and fought hard until the end. Lauren also stepped up as the alternate player to fill the lineup after Mahek was injured, which really helped the team!"

Girls' lineup:
#1 Renee Chan
#2 Alisa Chokshi (captain)
#3 Mahek Hemani
#4 Olivia Hung
#5 Mira Karande
#6 Katherine Xie
#7 Ainsley Ellison
#8 Lauren Drzala

Congratulations, Big Blue Squash!


Contact: Andrea Dawson, Senior Writer, adawson@pingry.org