Players and parents flocked to the Bay Area last weekend for the second year in a row to participate in the Squash Zone Gold hosted by Squash Zone in partnership with Bay Club Redwood Shores and Norcal Squash. From young to older students of the battles were fought, tears were shed and victors celebrated from early Saturday morning to end of play Sunday 1st March. One hundred and thirty eight competitors gave their all over the course of the weekend.
Squash Zone – Richard Elliott, Aisling Blake and Elaine Friedland – hosted the younger age groups this time out with U11, U13 and Girls U15 events being played out at the newest independent squash venue on the West coast. Local interest prevailed in the Gu11 with Minnie Kim of Orinda taking 1st place against Prisha Natarajan of Fremont in a close 4 games while younger sister Lara Kim swept up in the Consolation Play off coming in 7th.
Top seed Shirya Viswanathan flew in from Plano in the Gu13 and faced tough local competition in the form of Richa Patnam who won in a nail-biting 11-9 in the 5th. Meanwhile consolation winner Elinor Feldman provided success for the University Club placing 5th place.
Another top local seed in the Gu15 was Kristen Daniel. After overcoming Migyu Kim in a thrilling 5 game tie break win in the semis, Kristen fell in the final to Fatima Abdelrahman of Santa Clara in 3 games.
In the Bu11, #1 seed Arjya Saha of Los Gatos looked comfortable all the way through the early rounds, losing just one game in the final on his way to the title against Miles Goulding of Greenwich.
The Bu13 certainly provided some drama; in what would be considered a major upset Nathaniel Nam of New York beat out several seeds, including the top seed in the semi-finals on his way to the final against home favourite Vivaan Mehta in the Bu13. Mehta won out in 4 games to take his first Gold u13 title.
The Bay Club Redwood Shores, under the direction of Charlie Johnson, played host to the seasoned veterans of US Junior Squash; Gu 17 and Gu 19 and B u 15, 17 and 19. The matches overall were of high quality and lengthy in duration as players battled for their final placings on Sunday. In the Bu 15 category and after a slight blip in the quarters Rustin Wiser of New York constructed a great game plan to take the age group title against second seed Joshua Thomas of Cupertino.
Again, some surprises in the Bu 17 with Saechow Yap from Ohio taking out second seed inthe quarters. Yap backed up his win by going all the way to the finals before succumbing to the top seed Rana Thakker of Dallas in straight games. Local interest in the Bu 17 was provided by Ahmed Haq (coming in 4th place) and Felix Feldman (winning the Consolation finals in 5 games).
In the top age group, Bu 19 Alec Spiro of Portland outdid his seeding by beating the #1 seed Winston Park to take his Gold title. Again, local talent did well in the form of Roshan Gampala of Cupertino coming in 3rd place and Zane Patel of Santa Clara finishing 5th.
In the Gu 17 event, Madison Ho, fresh from a great JCT performance her opponents in straight games on the way to the title while Claudia Adam and Mehma Jolly kept home hopes alive by contesting the Consolation Finals in which Adam came out the victor in straight games and Roshni Pal with a Plate final win.
The Gu 19 event was the only age category with a Round Robin event with 2 groups eventually placing the winners against each other. The winners of Group A, won by Riddhi Joshi of Fremont and Group B, won by Riya Navani of Milpitas faced off in this local final. Navani won in straight games thus adding yet another trophy to the cabinet of this youngster.
Matches were entertaining and hotly contested, players fought long and hard for their crucial points and all matches were played in a sportsmanlike manner throughtout the weekend. Many thanks to the various helpers and match referees at both Squash Zone and Bay Club Redwood Shores and congrats to all of those who competed so well on the day.