October is always a crazy month for squash fanatics in Philadelphia. Between the World Series US Open and the Squash Festival-Arlen Specter JCT-PA Regionals-P2P #2, the excitement levels always rocket and this year was no different! Penn and Drexel were once again the hosts for the home JCT and 2nd event of the season. Scozzie had 17 players qualify, as the Nations best made their way to Philadelphia for the weekend. Read on to hear another Chapter of Scozzie’s success story in Season 7!
No player in the US has started the season as brightly as Shaam. After upsetting the top seeds in Cincinnati to win his first JCT, Shaam climbed to number 1 in the country in U15. With all the pressure on his shoulders and one of the deepest divisions gunning for his crown, many would have understood if he couldn’t quite replicate his phenomenal performances through September. But Shaam, he loves the spotlight and from his first round onward, he just soaked up opponent after opponent en route to his second successive final.
The U19 divisions saw our largest contingency and amazingly we still had all 7 Scozzie representatives competing on Monday. Monday threw up some thrillers with Eric and Elle facing #1 seeds, Teddy vs Charlie in an All Scozzie square off and many more enticing encounters. Eric played great and backed up his All Scozzie win against Peter to beat the #1 seed 3/0 in a statement victory. Elle lost out in 4 close games to the girls #1, before Meghna ended her tournament with massive back to back victories 3/2 and 3/0 whilst playing up in the U19s. Teddy and Charlie both won successive matches of Super Saturday to reach the Plate Finals an after both won 3/2 thrillers late on Saturday, it was a survival of the fittest challenge on Monday morning. Teddy prevailed in 4 high quality games to take home the Silverware and impressively turned up for the 4:15pm squad less than 2 hours later! Abby couldn’t quite replicate the fine form which saw her win 3 matches in a row and lost out in the Consolation Semi’s, a significantly higher finishing position than was seeded. Peter unfortunately had to DF his last match due to an ankle injury and we wish him the best on his recovery back to 100%.
In the U13’s, we had Albert and Naomi playing in their very first JCT’s. Albert capped his debut with a fantastic 3/2 win in the consolations and was also very impressive in a four game defeat to a top 8 seed and a 3/2 defeat by a former US #1. Naomi gained valuable experience from the event and improved in every match. Winston was a match of the tournament candidate for his R2 victory, dropping a mere 7 points (yes in total!) against a higher ranked opponent and like Albert lost a heartbreaking 3/2 to a former US #1. These three are all candidates for most improved and their rapid development and improvement have been a pleasure to oversee in the program. Maya and Devon both had good wins and runs in the GU15 consolations and our EA GU17’s, Lauren and Caroline, fought hard and were extremely unlucky going down in 4 games in their consolation matches.
Alexis S was MVP of the weekend and our Scozzie of the Week for her efforts in the GU17 division. Alexis was seeded outside top 16 but managed to pull off two upset victories to reach her first ever JCT quarter final. There she faced a former National Champion who was rated over .5 higher. Mission Impossible? Not for Alexis. She was flying in adrenaline and raced into a 2-0 lead playing the squash of her life. Opportunities came in Games 3, then in Game 4 and finally a 7-3 lead in Game 5. But National Champions weren’t built in a day and to her opponents credit, she pulled out all the stops on the big points. She lost out 7,10,9 in the final 3 games, only a couple of points away from the biggest win of her career. On top of all that, Alexis then repeated the feat by again going 2-0 up on a player .5 above her in the Classic Plate! The best squash of her life and everyone is excited to see where the rest of the season takes her.
Always one of our favorite events of the year, this year was no different and many memories will last a lifetime. 2 JCT’s down, 3 to go… and as we approach the business time of the season, October is going to be a huge preparation month before the hectic Winter strikes. P2P #2 will be our next event before the PA Regionals, make sure to sign up with Lyall before Friday’s deadline! Well done again to Shaam for making an undefeated start to the season, who can join him on the top of the podium in next month’s Frank Millett JCT?!