Matthijs Van Mierlo
The Boys Varsity Squash team brings a palpable energy to every practice on the Cullman courts.
By encouraging each other not to give up close matches, the team hopes to set itself apart from its competition. Co-captain Taylor Clayton ’21 said, “I think we’re really focused on being good teammates to each other. [Squash is] an individual sport, but we’re also making sure that we’re a team and that we’re working together and building each other up, which I think other schools might ignore.”
One promising feature of this year’s team is the older and more experienced roster. Aside from Prep Callan Venkatesan ’23, the other nine players are all returners to the Hotchkiss squash program: three came from last year’s JV team and six from last year’s Varsity squad.
The experienced lineup has enabled the boys to build on previous success and training. Head Coach Jackson Marvel cited that experience as a major benefit, saying, “[When] the guys compete on [the] court, they play really hard, and if they’re down, they still stay in the match nicely. That might be because we do have a more senior team, a more veteran team, and so we’ve been in these situations before.”
With a season record of 7-2, the team’s hard work has been paying off. Although they suffered losses to Deerfield and Brunswick, the boys improved to beat St. Paul’s (who beat them last season). Even against weaker teams, they have been focusing on playing their best in every match and staying optimistic.
Alex Du ’21 said, “Brunswick was probably one of the best teams we played, [and although] we knew that we needed a crazy miracle to get a win, what I really loved about the team was that every single member fought down to the wire, wouldn’t lose points over stupid mistakes, and fought as best they could.”
Although the team has already faced some of its toughest competitors, this month will be full of close games. Co-captain Clayton is looking forward to playing Avon, while Marvel emphasizes the importance of matches against Kent and Andover, saying, “Those are going to be the toughest matches for us. We’re going to learn a lot about our team.”
The team hopes to repeat last year’s successful season, when it finished 6th at Nationals. Co-captains Clayton and Sam Charlton ’20 are working toward a top-five finish this year in the New England Championships.
With exciting games to come, Clayton encourages students to come out and support the team, as fans help lift up the energy on the team and can contribute to a win.