2018 started with a huge bang, as the penultimate PA Gold was held between GCC and PSC. It’s always a highlight tournament on the Scozzie calendar, as it links the conclusion of our Winter Camps back into the reality of competition. Over 30 Scozzie’s came in with hope and confidence after a great training block and expectations were high across all 10 age divisions. Come Sunday afternoon, 30 hours of enthralling action had completed and Scozzie was left with finalists in U11, U13 and U17’s and two semi finalist U19’s. What a weekend it was, read on to hear all Scozzie’s top hits!
Winner Winner Turkey Dinner
Fresh from the holiday turkey… Scozzies were represented in 9 divisions and incredibly charged to 3 separate divisional finals. From our 3 finalists, we only had one favorite to win. Alexis came in as Scozzie’s only number 1 seed and carried the Scozzie Championship hopes on her shoulders. Currently ranked #21, Alexis targeted the 2000 point 1st Place jackpot as a great opportunity to propel her into the top 16 leading up to Gold Nationals in March. She was in unstoppable form in the early round and incredibly didn’t drop more than 6 points in a game until the final. In the final, she faced #2 seed who beat Lauren 3/2 in the opposing semi to prevent an All Scozzie finale. Alexis came into the final with personal hunger, but was eager to avenge her teammates defeat and was assisted with some sound advice from Lauren to help construct the perfect game plan. The final was just as dominant and Alexis cruiser through 3/0 playing some of her best squash of the season. It was a statement win for the Baldwin junior, a tremendous start to 2018 and the perfect warm up before next weekends penultimate JCT in Baltimore. She’s already achieved one JCT quarter final and it would take a brave person to bet against her matching, or even bettering that performances next weekend. She’s hitting prime form at the perfect time and we can’t wait to see what the rest of 2018 has in store for the young superstar.
Winston and Colten were out two other finalists in the BU11 and BU13’s. Both boys weren’t seeded to reach the final, but both had great victories against the #2 seeds on Saturday evening to reach their first Gold finals.
Colten has been one of the stories of the tournament. He’s recently reached a top 32 ranking in his first season of competition and came into the ever completely unseeded. His new nickname is ‘The Upsetting Underdog’ after he tore through the deep U11 draw, taking out the #2 and #3 seeds in succession to reach his first ever Gold final! He faced the #1 seed, who is ranked top 16 Nationally and is almost 0.5 higher rated. The stats made the match up statistically improbable for a third successive upset, but Colten doesn’t listen to the stats! He raced to a 2/1 lead and was within touching distance of the title. The crowds gathered and the noise rose… unfortunately the experienced top seed raised his game at the pivotal points and eventually edged through 3/2 in an epic 5 game thriller. What a tournament Colten… coaches are extremely proud of you and a great way to kick off the new year. Huge things to come in the next 12 months from this young man.
Immediately following on the PRO court was the BU13 final featuring our very own Winston, again facing the hot favorite and top seed. Winston had won a 3/2 thriller on Saturday night against a top 16 ranked and #2 seed, however with the pace and tempo he set out at in the final, you would never of guessed he might be a little fatigued! It was relentless and Winston should have closed from 9/7 up, but let his lead slip. Suddenly from several winning positions, he was 2/0 down and faced a massive uphill climb back into it. Winston has a phenomenal never say die attitude and he did exactly that. He won Game 3 and then went 5/1 up in game 4. A heroic comeback looked possible, but just as the optimism arrived, his top seeded opponent raised his game and staged his own mini comeback to win the fourth and seal the title. Another big step forward for the young 11 year old, who is having a break out season in his down year at BU13. A big result in Baltimore and he should move into the top 16 Nationally, primed for another year at the top of the division pushing for JCT titles and the National Championship. Well done to both Winston and Colten for the huge efforts, your time is coming boys!
On top of our three finalists, we then had 3 third place finishers! The Bronze medal finish is a Scozzie favorite for the character representation being able to bounce back from the disappointment of a semi final defeat. It says lots for those who can bounce back the next/or same again day with a clear positive mindset and a fresh outlook quickly overcoming the heartbreak of missing out on a final. Our three 3rds were; Charlie in the BU19, Lauren in the GU17 and Naomi in the GU13’s… actually, the only Scozzie to come in 4th was Teddy, who lost out in an All-Scozzie 3/4 to Charlie. Charlie has had a huge season closing in on top 32 before he embarks on college squash at Amherst next season and his 3rd place finish will move his ever closer to that number. Lauren had a heartbreaking 3/2 loss in the semis, but showed true resilience to immediately bounce back and win 3/0 in the 3/4. Naomi, completed the trip of success with a huge 3/2 win on her play off matchup (including a saved match ball!). All three have the Baltimore JCT next weekend and their final win will be a huge confidence booster before the event.
Three Finals, Three Third Places… What Next?!
More winners obviously!!! Zach and Kristen represented in the U19 Consolation Events and both stormed to the finals overcoming tough 3/1 and 3/2 victories in the semis. Zach had a brutal draw and after losing to a highly rated, yet unseeded Canadian quickly put that behind him to win 4 matches on the trot and win the Consolation Event! Two trophies in 2 weekends for Zach, who recently was accepted into UPenn just before winning the Berwyn Silver (his first title of the season) last weekend!
Kristen was the last match of the day at 2:15pm, but won a 3-2 thriller early which didn’t end up almost 12:30pm! With only 1.5 hour recovery time, Kristen miraculously found additional energy resources (and a super quick trip home to pick up her whites) and won the final 3-1! Furthermore, John completed the U19 Silverware collection with one of the matches of the tournament in the Plate 2 final against an opponent rated 0.5 higher. John was tremendous in games 2 and 4 to level at 2-2 and hit ‘shot of the year’ at match ball down! Unfortunately he ran out of gas in game 5, but can be exceptionally happy with his performance and effort throughout the weekend.
7 more winners!
Jeffrey, Neil, Matt, Rubens, Charlotte, Gray and Maya also all won their respective plate/Consolation divisions. Maya came 5th playing up in the U17’s and saved her best squash for the 5/6 play off on Sunday. Likewise, Matt W won 5th in the BU15 and played great on Sunday building confidence before his first ever JCT next weekend. Jeffrey played his best squash of the season in the U15 final and Neil won 2 thrillers in the semi and then final to win the U17’s. Charlotte was unstoppable in the U13 Consolations and didn’t drop a set on her way to the title. Rubens and Gray completed the Silverware sweep in the U11’s with a huge Consolation and Plate 3 win, their best performances also coming on Sunday like so many of their Scozzie compatriots.
Alongside Johns outright reverse boast winner from 3 feet behind Him at match ball down, there were several additional highlights to conclude the weekend. Ethan was Consolation finalist in the BU13’s after winning 2 successive Silvers to continue his fine run of form. Claire was runner up in the U13 Classic Plate and Albert and Wills came within a whisker of making it an All Scozzie U15 Consolation Final with some fine squash throughout the weekend.
Arguably the most trophies Scozzie has taken home this season, it was truly a weekend for the history books. For many it was the perfect preparation before Baltimore, others peaked perfectly and had personal best finishes for a Gold event standard and for many it was all about he performances and learning experiences gained. Regardless of the outcomes, it was a huge step forward for everyone involved and the coaches are exceptionally proud as always of how everyone represented themselves and grew from match to match. Lots to work on as we continue through Phase 2, but 2018 is already looking to be one heck of a year!! Stay tuned next week for the JCT reportage!