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Westminster Brings Home Title from Nationals!

October 2012, by Garrett Donnelly

This past February, for the first time, a southern school – The Westminster Schools – clinched a title at this year’s High School Team Squash Championships. The boys’ team took home the Division VI title and the newly formed girls team displayed their skills by winning their first match at the championship.

The boys prevailed against every team in the tournament, never dropping a match and winning 84 out of the 87 games played.

“As we got deeper into the tournament I felt that we were going to win,” said Rick Byrd, coach of the boys’ and girls’ teams. Once Byrd had an understanding of the opponent’s skill levels, the end goal for the boys became more visible.

“I thought winning was more than gratifying,” said Joe Cullen, co-captain of the boy’s team. “As a senior, we never made it very far in nationals in my previous three years, so our win was the ‘icing on the cake.’"
While the boys’ team has existed at Westminster a number of years now, this year Westminster introduced a varsity girls squash team into the program. For the first time this new girls team traveled alongside the boys’ team to the tournament.

The girls made it to the second round of Division IV, surpassing Greens Farms Academy in a 4-3 nail-biter.

"It was a great experience to travel to Nationals on the girls team last year,” said girl’s team player Anisha Reddy. “It was the first time Westminster sent a girls team, and it was an honor to be a part of that." After celebrating the wins, the team realized the task that lays ahead for next year.

“As a rule, if you win a division, you are at least half-way up the next division,” said Tom Rumpler, community coach for the boys’ and girls’ teams. This coming year the boys’ team will have to step it up if they wish to repeat their win, as they will most likely have to play in a higher division.

“The question is can the bottom four step up – can they move fast enough to be equal to the players ahead of them last year,” said Rumpler. “The problem with these team matches is that they are about depth, not star power.” The boys’ team will have to reach a whole new level in order to repeat their performance at the championship next year, and the ever growing girls’ team will have the chance to show how much more they can improve in one year’s time.

“I feel that the girls’ team will do remarkably better,” said Rumpler. Having gained the experience and knowledge on how to deal with tournament pressure the girls’ team has the opportunity to reach new heights next year.

While this win is a big step for a southern schools playing squash, there remain inherent difficulties.
“Although we won this years nationals, it will not have as much of an effect on other schools in the south simply because these prep schools do not have the funding or the facilities to play squash,” said Byrd. “Prep schools still consider squash weird – schools down south prefer football.”

While Westminster is one of the few schools in the south to hold a high school squash team, nonetheless the boys’ and girls’ teams will strive to set even higher records in the upcoming season.

Results

Girls IV Draw :

Boys IV Draw: