SquashBusters 2019 MFS Derby
to watch some great squash for a great cause.
To learn more or support the event, click HERE.
A Historic Squash Season for SQB Boston
While our teams exhibited strong play throughout the season, it was clear both the boys and girls teams saved their best performances for the biggest competitions in high school and urban squash.
High School Team Championships – In early February SquashBusters traveled to Hartford, CT to compete in the High School Squash Team Championships as the representatives of Boston Public Schools. There were 8 separate boys’ divisions and 6 separate girls’ divisions comprised of more than 200 teams from across the country, making it the world’s largest squash tournament. Our strong regular seasons (girls 7-2, boys 8-1) earned our girls team a place in Division 3, and our boys team a high seed in Division 4.
Our girls began the weekend with a convincing 6-1 victory over Blair Academy (NJ). Despite falling 4-3 to two seed Westminster School (CT) the next morning in a tightly contested battle, the team recovered quickly and managed to take a 5-2 decision over Episcopal HS (PA) that evening, putting them in the 5th place match against traditional powerhouse Shipley School (PA). Our girls eked out an intense 4-3 victory over Shipley, placing them 5th in Division 3 and 37th in the country!
Our boys team started the weekend similarly to the girls – with an impressive 6-1 victory over New Haven Public Schools (CT) on Friday. A second round matchup with Tower Hill School (DE) proved far more testing. Tied 3-3, Josiah Bennett pulled out the deciding fourth victory to send the team into the semifinals against Westminster School (GA) on Saturday evening. Our boys once again edged out a close match, taking a 5-2 decision and securing a spot in the finals against Loomis Chaffee School (CT). The finals had a different feel, as our boys clinched the victory early, and cruised to a 6-1 victory and a Division 4 championship!
Urban Team Nationals – Next up, the 16th edition of Urban Team Nationals at Yale University and Choate Rosemary Hall, hosted by the Squash and Education Alliance (SEA). Sixteen SEA member programs and 2 international affiliates comprised 14 separate elementary school, middle school, and high school draws. SquashBusters sent 18 teams composed of 90 Boston, Lawrence, and Providence students to New Haven for 3 intense and fun-filled days of squash.
Entering the tournament, a SquashBusters team had not won an A-division title at Urban Team Nationals since 2016. However, both the top Boys and Girls high school teams had hopes of changing that, as the girls team received the top seed and the boys were seeded third in the A-draw.
The boys took a decisive 4-1 decision in the first round against SquashDrive (Oakland, CA) before falling in a 3-2 thriller in the semifinal to eventual champion StreetSquash. The boys rebounded to take 3rd place with a 3-2 victory over SquashSmarts (Philadelphia, PA) the next day.
The top girls team marched to the finals with a 5-0 first-round win and a 4-1 semifinal victory over CitySquash (NY). This set them up to play StreetSquash in the finals, and the girls pulled through with a 3-2 victory to clinch SQB’s first A-division title since 2016!
SquashBusters’ other high school teams also experienced significant success. The high school Girls II team won the A-division consolation, and the Girls III team took the B-division title. The high school Boys II team won the B-division, and the Boys IV team took third in the C-division.
For the majority of students on SquashBusters’ middle school teams, this past weekend marked their first national tournament. Still, they competed well against their often more-experienced counterparts. The top boys and girls teams finished seventh in the Middle School A-division, while the Boys III and Girls III teams both finished third in the Middle School C-division.
Beyond success on the court, all the teams represented SquashBusters incredibly well. Many other teams and spectators commented on our players’ strong sportsmanship and attitude. And Joelangie Arias Soto and Marangela James took home the top prizes in the middle school and high school divisions of SEA’s annual academic contest. It has been a season to remember, and one of which our program is exceedingly proud.
SquashBusters Lawrence Gets a Permanent Home
A Schematic Rendering by Stack + Co. of the
New SquashBusters Lawrence at Merrimack College
SquashBusters has entered into a formal partnership with Merrimack College to build a rent/maintenance-free facility on the school’s campus. The 16,000 square foot facility will contain eight squash courts, three classrooms, a family resource and college counseling center, locker rooms and staff offices, and cost approximately $4.75 million. New Balance has committed a $2.5 million lead investment to name the facility.
The benefits to partnering with Merrimack College are numerous. Merrimack has agreed to donate the land free of charge, operate the facility at its expense, and assist SquashBusters with transportation. Additionally, Merrimack students will volunteer daily, SquashBusters staff may take graduate courses at discounted rates, and our qualified students will stand an excellent chance of gaining admission and financial assistance. Read Merrimack’s announcement to their community here.
SquashBusters enjoys similar partnerships with Northeastern in Boston and Moses Brown School in Providence, R.I. Both have enabled the program to serve more students, increase program dosage, host junior tournaments, and build a deeper connection to the community. We look forward to the programmatic, educational, and financial benefits of this partnership for years to come.
SquashBusters Runs the Boston Marathon
The Boston Marathon Team
Gets Ready for a Training Run with the SQB Team
The 16 teammates primarily hail from Massachusetts, but include runners from as far away as Tennessee, Alabama and California. They range in age from 21 to 57 and include marathon rookies and veterans alike. All of them feel a passion for or connection to the SquashBusters mission, and all of them have dedicated themselves to putting in hundreds of miles and hours as they work tirelessly towards their goals. To meet our athletes or support their efforts, check out the SQB Marathon Team website on Crowd Rise. Be on the lookout for our for blue and white SquashBusters singlets and cheer them on along the course!
SquashBusters is deeply grateful not only to these 16 runners, but also to the Boston Athletic Association for this incredible opportunity to raise significant funds that will support our programs in providing life-changing opportunities to our students. Since the Boston Marathon Charity Program officially launched in 1989, hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised for nonprofits across Massachusetts and SquashBusters is thrilled to be part of this program in 2019.
The Leaders of Tomorrow
The 2017-2018 SquashBusters
The SquashBusters Student Ambassador Program is a leadership initiative that is at the core of the SquashBusters mission. Composed of 14 high school students, the group meets bi-weekly to discuss the status of the program through their own eyes, plan internal and external events, and provide feedback and suggestions to enhance their experience.
Through their involvement with the Ambassador Program, students learn and practice valuable leadership skills. For instance, the Ambassadors recently led a two-hour event for more than 30 middle school students from three separate Boys and Girls Clubs in Boston. The SquashBusters students created goals to define what a successful event would look like, planned the run-of-show, divided roles, and practiced and rehearsed over multiple sessions and over multiple days on top of their core commitment to the program. SquashBusters staff were present to supervise, but the Ambassadors led the event flawlessly, greeting the visitors as they arrived, teaching squash, leading relay races, charades and other events, and showing the Boys and Girls Club students what it takes to be a member of a SquashBusters team.
The Ambassadors also play a crucial roles in the SQB program-year kick-off event, the Derby, and seasonal award ceremonies, where they select and celebrate a teammate who exemplifies the I-CARE values that all SquashBusters students strive to live by: Integrity, Concern for others, Appreciation, Respect and Effort.
Most importantly, the Ambassadors are the “culture-keepers” of the SquashBusters Program and embody what makes our community special – people who care deeply about each other and want to create incredible experiences for their teammates.