Week 7 of the 2019/20 season saw another thrilling conclusion, as S2ozzies were spread between training at home, the Shipley Silver down the road and the Westchester Bronze and Cleveland Gold, positioned slightly further away. It finally felt like Fall as the fluctuating weather conditions hit us, but despite the outside temperatures starting to drop, we still wanted our on court performances to come right from the top drawer and build from the S2unning start to the season our S2 hopeful have set up so far.

A Classic Conclusion in Cleveland
The Cleveland Gold was perfectly placed as the last opportunity for those looking to improve their ranking prior to JCT #3 in San Francisco over Veterans Day weekend. Participants traveled near and far and packed 10 divisional draws to make it one of the most competitive draws of the season.

Wonderful Winston played his best squash of the season in the BU15’s and made a huge statement to the rest of the division. The young sensation only turned 13 less than 6 months ago, but has already risen into the top 16 and above a 5.0 rating. After two consecutive top 16 finishes at Penn and Midwest JCT’s, he has aspirations of bigger and better things throughout the 2019/20 season and this was the first step toward those goals. The only game he dropped throughout the entire weekend was in the Final, and his game plan perfectly blended an attacking array with defensive domination to steamroll the division and win his first ever U15 Gold title! Great weekend Winston, congratulations!!

Awesome Aleezah also came into the weekend on a mission. She’s currently ranked 38 and after getting a taster of success at the Penn JCT, her first ever U17 and was the last player who qualified into the draw, she was hungry for more. The 2000 point jackpot for 1st place was a huge lure for all the competition, but Aleezah knew a top 2 finish would boost her into the top 30 in the country. Her rating has drastically improved (over 0.5) from 3.9 in October 2018, to a 4.45 within 1 year. Her ranking is already at a career high, but with her recent game improvements, she knows she can battle with the country’s best. The mission was to win and the statement was delivered… it wasn’t quite as comfortable as Winston’s, but she got the job done!!! Unbelievable achievement Aleezah, very proud of how you fought back from 2-1 down in the semis and then from 1-1 in the final. Your never say die attitude is going to provide next level resilience throughout the rest of this season and we can’t wait to see just how far it can take you! Top 30 check… now it’s time to target top 20!

These were S2’s second and third Gold titles of the season after Mitav success in the BU17 Meadow Mill Gold, to cap a remarkable kick off to the 2019/20 season which has also seen:
     – 4x JCT Finals from PA and Midwest events
     – 3x Gold Title Winners
     – 5x Bronze Winners
     – 6x Silver Winners

Finally, Game of the Weekend also came in Cleveland as Lucy and Riya played out a 18-16 first game thriller in their U13 Consolation Semi Final that had absolutely everything a game could want. Adding to that excitement, we were also delighted for Peter, who at 8 years old became our youngest ever player to win a match at Gold level! Three names destined for a huge future, remember the names!

Riding the Waves at the Ship-ley Silver and Westchester Bronze
The successes at Silver and Bronzes are known to be the key component into an accelerated rise toward the top 50 in the country and these two Tiers have already provided 11 x S2 winners already this season after only 6 weekends of action, an incredible statistic!

Preston was our most recent success story, winning his first ever title at the Bu15 Merion Bronze, whilst Ajay came so close, finishing in 2nd place. This time it was Max R who steamrolled through a division of 16 BU13’s at the Westchester Bronze to reach his third consecutive Bronze Finals and was going for a historic 3 for 3 in championships. Unfortunately this time he came up just short in the final, but what a way to start the season, reaching 3 consecutive finals. Well done Max!

Down the road at Shipley, S2 had 12 players in attendance and arrived full of confidence looking to make a statement at one of the strongest Silvers of the season so far. With no number 1 seeds, it was going to take a true Philly underdog story to improve from our 6x Silver Titles so far! Ben and Alec started us in style in the Bu15 draw. Alec had a tremendous 3/0 upset victory over #3 seed (4.2 rated) in the quarter finals to make a huge statement and showcasing just how much (and how fast) he’s continuing to improve. In the semis, both boys pushed the #1 and #2 seeds all the way, but couldn’t quite continue the upsets and had to settle for an All-S2 3/4 play off. Ben was the victor and took home 3rd at his home Silver (as Ben is a Shipley student) and Alec should be very happy with his top 4 finish in his down year. Well done to Arjun who won Plate 1 in the same division.

The Bin siblings are always two of our most entertaining performers and this event was no different. Both reached the semi finals to better their original seeding, Brandon having two huge victories – 3/2 in the Bronze medal playoff and his quarter final 3/1 over Kevin in an All-S2 match up. Bella lost out in two tough losses, 3-1 semi final to #1 seed and then 3-2 to the #3 seed, but came so close to a big upset and can be proud of her performances.

A huge well done to Kevin, who bounced back to win the BU13 Consolation after an epic 12/10 in the 5th victory over Grant, which backed up an 11/9 in the 5th victory over Devin in 2x consecutive All S2 matchups! Finally congratulations to Tori, who had a big win on her way to 4th in the GU11 divisions!

Home Sweet Home
Despite the chaos of all the tournament action around the country, we also had our most pleasant surprises back at base. Saturday was particularly special, as we celebrated Colten’s 12th birthday with some sensational Duck Donuts, three of our College Freshman Alum walked in to surprise us and returned for the first time since their departure at the end of summer. Johns story was particularly amusing as he mentioned he’d actually come to training before everything else, and he hadn’t even been home to see his parents yet! It’s always so great to see our college guys back and hearing/seeing how happy you all are at your respective colleges really makes us smile. Thankfully it’s only 5 weeks now until our 6th annual Turkey Bowl – when our 20 best Alum take on our our finest 20 from within the current S2 program, always the annual highlight of the program! Let the countdown begin!

Lastly, next weekend brings our 2nd P2P of the season on Saturday 26th October from 9:00-2:00. All sign ups can now be done on US Squash – HERE!
We’ll welcome players from all around the nation and will provide great match play opportunities against 3-4 players of a similar rating. The goal is to implement and pressure test some of the recent improvements we’ve all made running through Weeks 1-7 of the S2 curriculum, before the heaviest competition schedule kicks in from November – February.

Great job y’all, another weekend of success stories for the memory books!

Head of S2’s Gold Program, Lyall has proven himself to be one of the most popular and successful junior coaches in the United States. Lyall has coached 7 Junior National #1’s since 2011, as well as US Junior National Teams. He graduated valedictorian (Sport and Exercise Science) in 2010 from Edinburgh Napier University and holds a UKCC Level 3 Certificate.