Dalton Squash capped off its best season in school history with an impressive showing at Nationals.
Squash Team Finishes Season with Best-Ever Record
By BRYSON WIESE
On February 2-4, the Varsity Squash team made it to the quarterfinals of its division at the 2018 HEAD U.S. High School Team Squash Championships in Philadelphia, an unprecedented finish for the team. Powered by competitive performances from both new and experienced players, the team overcame numerous injuries to finish the season strong.
According to Coach Dave Bradford, the team won a total of 11 matches this season, finishing second in the Ivy Preparatory School League. The team’s 7-3 record in the Ivy League and 9-3 record overall were its best-ever. Bradford praised “strong experienced play” by Jason Friedman (‘18), Daelum Mawji (‘18), and Jack Patton (‘18), as well as the “talent and depth” brought by younger players Auggie Bhavsar (‘21) and Max Menin (‘22). He also credited the team’s success to “consistently good performances” from Jahnavi Bhavsar (‘19), Oliver Fisher (‘18), Ethan Hellman (‘19) and Hart Rapaport (‘18). Although Ben Goldstein (‘18) suffered a season-ending injury, Bradford added that as a top 3 seeded player, Goldstein played well and contributed to two league victories early in the season.
“There was only one game in the season in which our entire intended starting line-up was healthy,” noted Rapaport. “Everyone made a strong effort to come back from injuries.” In addition to Goldstein, injured players included Mawji, formerly ranked No. 1 in his age group, which Rapaport said makes the team’s success even more remarkable.
As Bradford noted, the team benefited from the contributions of younger players “on and off the court.” Menin, who made the team as an eighth grader and did not drop a single game, described relationships with older players as a valuable aspect of his experience on the team. “Squash is an individual sport, so to be on a team with fellow Daltonians has been really special to me,” Menin said. “As a middle schooler on a varsity sport, my older teammates have been really supportive and friendly to me throughout the season, especially in non-squash areas related to Dalton. It has been really great to make these new friends.”
The culmination of the team’s success was making it to quarterfinals at the Philadelphia championship, a competition that bills itself as “the world’s largest squash tournament” with more than 1,300 players. Bhavsar called an octofinals victory against the Darien high school team “the highlight of the season” because it secured for Dalton “the best performance at high school nationals in Dalton Squash history.” Although Bradford attributed the performance to “team depth, chemistry, and ability to overcome adversity,” Bhavsar credited his coaches. “I believe the team-wide success comes from our coaches, Yasser and Bradford, who helped motivate and organize the team,” he said.
With strong contributions currently coming from players spanning grades 8-12, the future of Dalton squash looks promising.