Report Courtesy of Kim Clearkin, Bay Club San Francisco Squash Director
This past weekend, March 27-29, the inaugural NorCal High School Team Championships took place at Bay Club Santa Clara in Northern California. Twelve school teams participated in an action-packed weekend of squash, culminating in a closely fought final between teams from Los Gatos Squash Club and a Mission Valley Team. Mission Valley HS won 4-3.
It has been a long road to put together a school based event in Northern California. No school in NorCal has their own squash courts and so school teams rely on private clubs to support their school program initiatives. Eight of the teams were comprised of players from one school, four teams were club-based.
Nueva School was the standout pure High School Team and received an award for best high school team comprising players all from their school. Nueva is the only School in Northern California to incorporate squash into their school program. The idea to start a squash program was batted around for a few years, but only really took shape when a local squash director (Kim Clearkin) stepped in and gave a presentations to the school. The school’s squash players were excited to reap the rewards today as they finished as the best team fielding players from just one school.
“To develop from a group of mostly just curious beginners—some of whom had never seen a squash court before—to a successful squash team in just two years has been an interesting and rewarding experience,”
Juliette Love, Nueva team captain and occasional assistant coach, said.
“Last year, we created both a middle school and high school squash team at the Nueva School. After two seasons, I think I can say that squash has been fully integrated into the sports scene at Nueva,” explained Love.
The Mission Valley team, which included some players from Mission Valley High School in Fremont, is excited because their school is not normally associated with sporting success.
Their players are hoping that this championship will breed a full high school team next season. Seniors Palak and Purvi Goel, who will both attend Brown University next year, are proud that they can leave the school knowing that the success of this weekend will mean that a squash club is now viable at their school.
Next season, NorCal squash hopes to grow the school’s program and create a fully sanctioned high school league, hoping to that will send school teams to the High School Squash Team Championships. This is a very real possibility if the participation and enthusiasm of this weekend can be fully harnessed.
“Creating a successful team also takes the support and involvement of players with experience. While some high-level players may think it’s a waste of their time to play squash with a group of novices, they’re missing the big picture,” Love continued. “By working to start a school team, experienced players can share their expertise and love of the game with those just beginning, and create something worthwhile.”
Thank you to the Bay Club Squash Directors, Jon Perry and Gareth Webber for helping to organize this event and to NorCal Squash for sponsoring.
NorCal Squash looks forward to building on this success and making 2015 even better.