Groton Gold Event, Groton, Mass., John Ho

Groton Gold Event, Groton Massacheusetts John Ho, number 1 Boys U-13 makes a clean sweep to win the event while unseeded players, Adam Lichtmacher and Gareth Kithata in Boys U-15 make it to the semi-finals and beyond in a very successful weekend for West Coast squash. In the U-13 event, John had a bye in the first round due to his no. 1 seeding. His first match against a seeded player was Ashton Monteiro who had overcome the 8th seed in a tight 5 games. John dispatched his opponent easily in 3 games to set up a quarter final encounter with Rana Thakkar of Texas. Again, John’s solid hitting and superb court coverage was no match for the Texan as John eased into the finals with another 3-0 win. Here he faced Patrick Keller, who despite being seeded no. 2 in this tournament, had won both of their previous matches. This time however, it was John’s turn as he showed himself to be the more dominant player in control of the T. After an edgy start from both players, John stepped up the pace in the second game combining penetrating length on the backhand with a top class front game he was able to take the win in three games. A first Junior U-13 Gold event trophy for John but certainly not the last. Meanwhile in the Boys U-15 both Adam and Garrett went into the event unseeded and caused many upsets on their way to their respective final and semi-final. Thankfully both were on opposite sides of the draw thus preventing them meeting each other until the last day (coming from the West Coast to play against your fellow Californian is never easy). Garrett who went into the event ranked no .62 surprised many a seasoned player as he went from strength to strength using his volley extremely well to force his opponent to stretch to each ball. Winning both his round of 16 and his quarter final against much higher ranked players, Garrett set up a semi-final meet with Asser Ibrahim, the Egyptian junior who has recently relocated to Florida. Proving a little too strong, the Egyptian won in 3 games which gave our local a 3rd place play-off in which was the most exciting game of the weekend for Garrett. In a very close 5 game battle Garrett narrowly missed out on a 3rd place finish losing 11-8 in the 5th game. Again, Garrett’s concise volleying allowed him to constantly put pressure on his opponents leaving them less and less time to reach the ball. Adam, with a ranking of no. 54 in boys U-15 caused upset after upset as he made his way to the semi-final, beating no. 22 Joey Raskin in three games with his measured movement and very clever ball placement. The semi was a more closely contested affair with Harry Charlton of New York but Adam prevailed in 4 games edging Harry out 12-10 in the 4th game. The final was always going to be a challenge with the aforementioned Ibrahim of Egypt. The second game in this match was Adam’s finest as he stuck to a solid game plan before losing out to the Eygptian in 3 games. All in all, a very successful weekend of squash from our 3 West Coast ambassadors. All three played with heart and professionalism and were rewarded with their fantastic results. went from strength to strength throughout the event winning the title without dropping a game,