Feb. 1, 2017: 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 children, to the event. The team achieved great success with all five teams finishing in the top eight.
Bronxville's first team was made up of eighth-graders Tate Burgin and Johnny Moynihan, seventh-grader Molly Stoltz, and sixth-graders Charlie Clifford and Ronin Kaplan. The team played in Division 1 and won the Classic Plate, finishing fifth overall. The team defeated Springside/Chestnut Hill Academy 3-2 in the Classic Plate final, with Johnny Moynihan pulling out his fourth win of the tournament with a 12-10 victory in the fifth game. Moynihan had an undefeated perfect 4-0 record for the tournament.
Bronxville's second team included eighth-grader Lainey Neild, seventh-graders Lily Jebejian and Peter Vorbach, and sixth-graders Ellie Clifford and Wilder Burgin. This team competed in Division 2 and also made it to the finals of the Classic Plate. They defeated Princeton Academy 3-2 in the semis, with Lainey Neild and Wilder Burgin both pulling out wins in the fifth game. The team fell to St. Luke’s in the Classic Plate finals, finishing sixth overall.
Bronxville's third team had the most success of the weekend, bringing home silver for a second-place finish in Division 3. This team included eighth-graders AJ Radik and Charlie Vail and sixth graders Brooks Clifford, Drew Doyle, and Nicolas Park. This team breezed through its first round with a 5-0 victory and then pulled out a narrow 3-2 victory over TEVF Middle School in the quarters. Brooks Clifford, who prevailed in the final match against TEVF, commented, “I was really glad I didn’t know that the team score was 2-2.” The Bronxville team then won its semifinal round 5-0, advancing to the finals and finishing an impressive second.
Bronxville’s fourth team finished eighth in the tournament, falling 3-2 to Bronxville’s fifth team in its final match. There were hard-fought and close matches, including two that went to five games. Bronxville's fourth team was made up of eighth-graders Nick Bianco and Billy Rizzo and seventh-graders Dya Acharjee, Katie Hennessy, and Stella Shah. Bronxville’s fifth team was made up of seventh-graders Jay Coyne, Spencer Krex, Sabrina Latham, and Matthew Rodriquez and fifth-grader James Murphy.
The Bronxville School squash program is now in its seventh year and was started by Kim Morse, a Bronxville mother, as a combined middle school/high school program open to sixth- to twelfth-graders. The program grew under Amy Charlton, the parent coordinator for the following three years, and now boasts a varsity and JV team of 18 players and a middle school team of 35 players.
Amy Charlton attributes the success of the Bronxville program to the instructional focus of the program at the middle school level. The team, which includes beginners to highly ranked players, is coached by top pros from the Bronxville Field Club, Pyramid Squash, and Westchester Squash. “These coaches take special care to tailor the practices to the needs of each group of players so as to help the players improve at every level,” said Charlton.
Regarding the success at Nationals, Sarah Clifford, the current parent coordinator for the Bronxville program, commented, “To have four teams make it to the Classic Plate and one finish second at the Nationals was impressive, particularly given the relative youth of the teams. The kids played hard on the court, supported each other off the court, and had so much fun all weekend.”
Clifford thanked Ajaz Azmat, the Field Club head pro, who accompanied the teams to Nationals and watched the matches, no easy feat with five teams! She also offered up a special thanks to the parent team managers, Sheila Stoltz, Tania Neild, Charlie Vorbach, David Park, Sarah Zion, and Julie Latham. “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 third team with team manager David Park and coach Ajaz Azmat; Bronxville first team; Bronxville second team; and Bronxville fourth & fifth teams together.
Photos provided by Bronxville Middle School Squash Team