Latin Squash Team at Nationals

Eleanor Pontikes While some were cozying with their laptops and Netflix and others were brunching or watching the Patriots lose to the Eagles in the Super Bowl, Latin’s Boys and Girls Squash Team was competing and crushing it at the US National High School Squash Division V championship tournament in Philadelphia. Leading up to Nationals, daily hour-and-a-half practices were physically intense, matches were scheduled every other week against Chicago-area schools such as Lab and Beacon to prep for competition, and the team competed in match-days once a week where Latin players competed against each other to determine the ranking of each player on the team to determine the match schedule for Nationals. Senior Vedant Pathak, captain of the boy’s team along with Theo Bufford says, “The only issue with the team before nationals (that I saw) was that each of us was more concerned with our individual position within the team’s rankings. To change that up, I spent the two weeks before nationals trying to build a true team spirit, so that everyone was ready to play for Latin, rather than play for themselves. I can say with pride that it definitely worked.” The Boys team placed third in their division after losing in the semifinals to Baltimore school Calvert Hall in a close match of 4-3—an amazing feat considering it was Latin’s first time competing at this event. However, the loss by such a small margin was disappointing in Vedant eyes and the eyes of their coach, Luis Sanchez, after all their hard work. Nonetheless, Vedant says, “Team spirit and overall close-knit nature of the team really improved over the course of this past weekend in Philly.” Led by captains Maya Edwards and Natalie Wexler, the Girls team finished second in the consolidation bracket of their division, beating Green Farms Academy Dragons 5-2. Both the girls and boys teams were in the lowest division of the tournament. The boys were in the seventh of seven and the girls were in the fifth of fifth. This placement was mainly due to it being Latin’s first time at the tournament and Latin’s smaller size. Although the squash season is not over yet, the team is looking towards the future. Next year, Natalie cannot wait to go back to nationals and try to win their division. Vedant will pass the baton off to underclassmen next year and attend the University of Chicago where he’ll be playing squash on the club team. Vedant wishes that underclassmen will join the team. “We need a team to send to nationals next year, and fresh faces will help do that. As it stands, we’re already losing 3-4 players, but I know some who are already interested in joining next year. Let’s get some more people in the team!” Natalie echoes Vedant—her goal is to have a larger team for next year. As it stands, there are many current sophomores, two freshmen, four graduating seniors, and Natalie is the sole junior. “If more people knew about the sport they would want to play it, especially since it is a winter sport (when not as many people are in season), you get 2 gym credits, and, most importantly, it’s fun!” Natalie says. If you’re interested in playing Squash next year and getting a shot at Nationals, reach out to this year’s captains, Theo, Vedant, Natalie, or Maya!]]>