The Mighty Bees Bring Home a Win at U.S. Squash Middle School Championships!
For the tenth time, Calvert’s squash team made the trip to Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut to compete at the U.S. Squash Championships. Calvert was the sole team to represent Maryland in the tournament, which took place from January 19-21. In fact, our athletes traveled the farthest among the field of sixteen Division III teams, with the rest of their competing schools primarily hailing from New York and Connecticut. “We make this trip a priority for our boys and girls. It provides a wonderful opportunity to travel together, to practice independence, and to support one other through thick and thin,” states Mary Alice Lears, Director of Physical Education and Athletics, and Squash Team Coach.
The five boys played and defeated two Connecticut schools during the two initial rounds, first overtaking Saxe Middle School and then advancing to the quarter-finals to beat Greenwich Central Middle School. Their next victory was against The Meadowbrook School in the semi-finals. The boys ended in first place by defeating the prestigious Rye Country Day School in the finals with a score of 3-2. Mrs. Lears shares enthusiastically, “Every single boy played his heart out!”
While the girls also left it all on the court, their team faced a very challenging opponent in their first round and were eliminated. However, last year’s girls’ team progressed to the semi-finals and we know bright times lie ahead for our girls in future years.
Calvert School’s athletic program stresses sportsmanship above all, and the tournament provides a terrific opportunity to put this skill into practice. Each player is required to take a referee exam prior to competing. After they play each other, the two previous opponents have the unique opportunity to collaborate by serving as co-referees for the following match.
During the season, the squash team is composed of 37 players, all of whom (along with their parents!) show dedication to the sport by practicing at 7:00 a.m. three times weekly. The players are grouped into three levels which are co-ed, and these teams play the majority of other local schools. There is also a Girls’ A Team which competes against the local girls’ schools. The teams consist of Seventh and Eighth Graders, with the exception of Cyrus Ballo ’20, who is not only the solitary Sixth Grader, but also the top seed among the boys at Calvert.
Interest in squash at the School over the past decade is being nurtured by last year’s introduction of a Fifth Grade Intramural Team which prepares students for competitive play the following year. Well over fifty percent of the grade has taken part both this year and last, and Fifth Grade squash will be an ongoing after-school offering to families.
New this winter, the School also began Calvert Squash Sundays at Meadow Mill Athletic Club. These two-hour open houses of free play with some instructional oversight were led by Mrs. Lears and Head of Middle School, Matt Buck. Seventeen families took advantage of this complimentary opportunity to hone their skills and have fun, and Calvert plans to continue this tradition.
We are excited about the growth of this popular and worthwhile sport at Calvert and the success of this year’s winning Boys’ Team. Congratulations Mighty Bees!