The first P2P of the new year and the 5th official of the ‘17/18 ‘STOP’ (Striving To Optimize Performance) Series brought 45 entrants to Fairmount for another whirlwind 6 hour event. The series has attracted 85 participants to date and our very own first year professional touring pro, Jamie R currently leads the standings winning 3 of the first 4 events! This event brought additional fireworks though, as Coach Sam returned from his professional tour in Europe hungry to reclaim the P2P Series title he won in 2016/17! It was defending champion vs our current yellow jersey leader… who came out on top… Read on to hear all the edited highlights from the 6 divisions!
Division 6 brought our first final of the day and it was an All Girls affair with Betsy facing Bella who had a great run in her first ever P2P event. Betsy was too strong in the final and her backhand particularly impressed the overlooking Scozzie coaches. Division 5 saw A Jake (Valley Forge) vs Michelle (Germantown Friends) finale and two kids who have excelled through their first season in middle school squash. Jake used all the experience gained from captaining his school team to win a high quality final and lift his first trophy of 2018. A big congratulations to both Betsy and Jake who have been leading the middle school programs at Radnor and Valley Forge (both of whom train/coached at Fairmount) and thrived with the additional hours on court. Also, well done to Paul and Reghan, who won the Bronze Medals in each divisions (Paul defeating his brother Richard, in one of the most exciting matches of the day!).
In Division 4 it was more of our Middle School captains shining through! This time, EA number 1- Charly B stormed to the final to face her team mate and good friend Claire in the final! Having trained extensively with each other for the last 3 months, the girls knew each other’s games inside out. It was a ding-dong battle back and forth, but it was Charly who prevailed after four grinding games! Well done to our D4 Champion and also to Alec S (our previous P2P MVP), on another solid display to win 3rd place in the higher division.
The top 3 divisions were packed with high schoolers looking for the perfect dress rehearsal before MaSA begins and then High School Nationals next weekend. In Division 3, Ethan Lee completed the ‘perfect game’, the phrase referenced when a player qualifies up a division and then goes 3 for 3 to win the division in flawless style. He won a tricky qualifier against Alec, before defeating Malvern Varsity #2, a highly ranked GU15 and then Radnor High School Varsity #3 in the final to complete the ‘perfect game’! Ethan is only 12 years old and defeating opponents 2, 4 and 5 years his senior was extremely impressive. For this reason, the young man deservedly wins his second ‘Scozzie of the Week’ Award this season, a just reward for the ever improving youngster, who is destined for a huge 2018! Jason was the runner up in his first ever P2P and gained great confidence and experience before his final junior event at the High School Nationals next weekend, before he graduates in May. Well done to Avika for 3rd place in an extremely touching division.
John Sutherby has become the D2 magician and once again, he came through a challenging division to be crowned champion once again. The highlight was a 3/2 comeback victory over EA rival, Chris L in the final! All the other play off position in D2 saw some epic match ups, which saw Jeffrey defeat Alex for 3rd, Rick outlast Austin for 5th and then J Bruder won the battle of the Jimmy’s against Malvern Varsity player Jimmy M for 7th.
Now was the time for the fireworks to explode just like they will in one weeks time when the Eagles win the Super Bowl in Minnesota!! Division 1 had it all… from our 3 pro’s putting all their recent training practice into action, our undefeated U15 #1, our senior college recruits who are enjoying their last few months in junior squash, as well as 2 of the Inter-Ac wining EA Varsity team fresh from the huge title they lifted last week! The four top seeds progressed and then the excitement got real! Jamie took down Coach Lyall in the first semi final thriller, before Sam made the dream final a reality with a 3/0 win over Shaam. Charlie and Zach B both won their matches to set up an enticing Classic Plate showdown with Amherst vs Penn! Jamie vs Sam is slowly becoming Roger vs Rafa, or Tom vs Carson… or Tom vs Nick! It’s the match up we all waited for and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Sam took first blood to go 1-0 up, but Jamie stormed back immediately to go up 2-1. Then back came Sam to go 2-2 and set up the 5th game throw down, the large crowd had waited around for! No player could get a streak going as the patient purpose game plan was being matched ball for ball by both boys. It went right down to the wire and … Jamie won out in the 90 minute thriller. What a match it was and now the rankings are looking even juicier, with Jamie ahead and Sam right on his tail. Also, from now on forward, all players will take forward their 4 best scores from all P2P events to create an average which will be listed on the updated ranking board on Monday! Stay tuned to see where everyone lines up, as we now almost have reached over 100 participants for the season!
What a weekend it was and another great event to start 2018. It’s High School Nationals commencing February’s tournament line up next weekend and then we have a whole host of Golds, Silvers and JCT’s raring and ready to spice up the rest of the month. February is renowned as ‘moving month’ as everyone tries to gain as many last minute points as possible before the March 1 cut off for Gold Nationals. Arguably one of the most important months of the season, we can wait to see what it brings. We’ll see everyone tomorrow for a brand new week, with a whole new focus point and we slowly start connecting the dots and progressing match play development into the later stages.