Squash advances to national tournament

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Squash advances to national tournament

The boys junior varsity squash team poses for a photo after a 5-2 win over the Park School of Baltimore at the 2018 U.S. High School Team Squash Championship. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY STEVE LANTOS

The boys junior varsity squash team poses for a photo after a 5-2 win over the Park School of Baltimore at the 2018 U.S. High School Team Squash Championship. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY STEVE LANTOS

The boys junior varsity squash team poses for a photo after a 5-2 win over the Park School of Baltimore at the 2018 U.S. High School Team Squash Championship. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY STEVE LANTOS

The boys junior varsity squash team poses for a photo after a 5-2 win over the Park School of Baltimore at the 2018 U.S. High School Team Squash Championship. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY STEVE LANTOS

Rachel Lee, Staff Writer

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As teammates yell encouragement from behind the glass, athletes can be seen swinging their racquets, intense concentration in every move they make.

The squash team attended the 2018 U.S. Squash Team Championships in early February, and despite their loss at the tournament, the team has experienced massive growth after overcoming difficult adversities throughout the season.

There are seven skill divisions that categorizes boys’ squash, with Division I at the top. According to sophomore Joey Lantos, the team primarily played Division I and II teams, even though they are a Division IV team.  

“We didn’t win a match this season, so it was a little tough for us in terms of confidence going in these matches, but we realized that we’re playing some of these amazing teams, so winning two out of seven matches is really strong,” Lantos said.

Lantos also said that when trying to request other schools to play them, such as Concord Academy, they would sometimes receive unwilling responses, not necessarily because of skill level, but because Brookline is a public school.

“There’s nothing we can really do about that,” Lantos said. “It’s a little frustrating because we probably could beat them and just to deny us the opportunity, it’s crazy, but there’s nothing that we can do.”

Junior Charles Tipton said his physical injury at Nationals set the team’s performance back unexpectedly.

“I got injured the first match so I didn’t get to play for the rest of the weekend,” Tipton said. “That was a challenge because the whole team was expecting to win each match four to three, and the first match, everyone was kind of down.”

Lantos said that despite the struggles, they are still achieving their goal to improve their team ability and reach higher heights with their skill level.

“Our goal was to get to a higher division. Last year, we were in Division 5 and this year we’re in Division IV, so that’s a good jump,” Lantos said.

Tipton also said that they are trying to grow the schoolwide participation in the sport and increase their team size.

“We also want to expand the program more to have new kids who haven’t played so that

they can get a taste of squash,” Tipton said. “We’re going to have to publicize it more than we did last year.”

Squash coach Steve Lantos said that they are primarily focused on recruiting more players for the girls teams encouraging their growth in skill.

“The goal for the girls, many of whom who are beginners, is to get them more involved off-seasons so that they don’t start the season not having swung a racket for months,” Lantos said. “Some of the girls came out because they were curious, and I want that curiosity and experience to continue, but with some more devotion to the game in the off-season.”

According to Lantos, with the growth in physical abilities, players have taken more initiative during practices and team leadership has grown.

“The other co-coach and I could have had the players run the practice themselves because they knew what was to be expected,” Lantos said. “They were really encouraging each other and that is the kind of team spirit you want because it pushes each individual, and the individual players push each other.”