By Chris McClintick
Last summer, Poland hosted its first-ever World Junior Squash Championships, which included the United States Junior Women’s team matching its best finish of second place. This summer, another nation will host its first World Junior Championships—Namibia.
Six boys and five girls will travel to the south-African nation’s capital, Windhoek, August 10-21, to represent the United States in the annual Junior Men’s and Women’s Individual Championships and biannual Junior Men’s Team Championships, in which Team USA aims to improve on 2012’s eighth place finish.
Team USA will be led by Junior Men’s Head National Coach Adam Hamill, head professional at Germantown Cricket Club; Junior Men’s Assistant National Coach Gilly Lane, University of Pennsylvania Assistant Coach and 2013 USOC Athlete of the Year nominee; and Junior Women’s Head National Coach Scott Devoy, head professional at Merion Cricket Club.
The U.S. side that competed in last summer’s women’s team final—including current U.S. junior and senior champion Sabrina Sobhy, U.S. junior runner-up and third place finisher Reeham Sedky, and Olivia Fiechter respectively—returns to the national team fold for the women’s individual competition with two additional players yet to be determined at the time of publishing.
Since last summer’s world championships, the seventeen year-old Sobhy has won her first professional tour title, defended her U.S. Junior Open title, defeated her older sister, Amanda, to become the youngest U.S. senior champion, and won her third consecutive junior national title. Sobhy and seventeen- year-old Sedky are eligible for the 2015 World Junior Women’s Team Championship. This will be the last junior national team appearance for eighteen-year-old DeRoy Sportsmanship Award recipient Fiechter, who ships off to Princeton University in the fall.
All six men’s players will participate in the individual championship preceding the team competition, with eighteen-year old year old Pierson Broadwater and sixteen-year-old David Yacobucci only competing individually. Broadwater will aim to build upon reaching the round of sixty-four in Poland in his final junior national team appearance before attending Yale University in the fall. Yacobucci—who played No. 2 behind newly crowned U.S. junior champion Hayes Murphy for national runners-up Brunswick this season—occupies the developmental position given to a player eligible to compete in the next world team championship.
Derek Hsue, Fiechter’s DeRoy Sportsmanship Award-winning counterpart and runner up to Murphy in March’s U.S. junior championship, leads the U.S. men in the ensuing team competition having earned a position as the highest-ranked, age-eligible player. Hsue captained Pingry to a top-ten national finish this season and completes his senior year this spring, after which he joins the ranks of the University of Pennsylvania— with fellow, soon-to-be Quaker, Murphy. As it will be with Hsue, this summer is the final world junior team appearance for New York City-based Mason Ripka. With four remaining national team positions available through a playoff, held concurrently with April’s Silver Junior National Championships, unseeded Ripka stormed through a fourteen player draw to win the event. Seventeen-year-old Max Reed made an equally outstanding run, eliminating top-seeded Arhum Saleem in the quarterfinals and fourth-seeded Broadwater in the semis to earn a national team position.
Timmy Brownell completes the team roster as the youngest player—five months to Yacobucci’s junior—representing the U.S. this summerhaving played up an age division this season and reached the playoff semifinals against Ripka.A string of Junior National Squad training sessions will be held throughout the summer to bolster preparations for the World Junior Championships. The team of experienced national coaches, Elite Athlete Program players, and a supporting cast of developmental players alike will ready Team USA as it aims for success on the world stage in Namibia.