Sacred Heart Win First Middle School Nationals in a Decade
Connecticut’s Sacred Heart upset top seeds Baldwin in a 3-2 final to win the program’s first girls’ division one title in a decade, while Philadelphia’s Haverford earned a third boys’ division one title since 2014 at the 2019 U.S. Middle School Team Squash Championships, January 25-27, at Yale University and Hopkins in New Haven, Connecticut.
The 2019 middle school nationals experienced exponential growth in the tournament’s twelfth year with a total of eighty-nine teams and more than six hundred players–an increase of twenty-seven teams from 2018. The record participation saw the tournament expand with a fourth boys’ division and a third girls’ division and a second host venue at the Hopkins school.
A competitive girls’ division one saw two seeds Sacred Heart record two 3-2 victories on their way to the title in the semifinals and finals courtesy of wins from No. 1 Caroline Fouts, No. 3 Madeline Schwarz and No. 5 Gabriella El-Masry in both matches. Sacred Heart first defeated New Jersey’s Milliburn in the semifinals, before upsetting top seeds and three-time defending champions Baldwin in the final. Both matches saw No. 5 El-Masry pull out crucial five-gamers to give Sacred Heart a 3-2 advantage. Sacred Heart won the second ever U.S. Middle School Team Squash Championships in 2009.
The boys’ division one saw the Fords reclaim the title in dominant fashion, fulfilling their top seeding. The bottom half of the draw saw FairWest League’s Bronxville–the 2015 champions–upset two-time defending champions Brunswick 4-1. The final proved to be all Haverford, who swept all five matches to claim the program’s third national title following their triumphs in 2016 and 2014.
In the girls’ division two, three seeds SCH upset top seeds FCS in a 4-1 final. Cleveland’s University School won the program’s first boys’ division two title, taking out two seeds Shipley 4-1 in the quarterfinals and Rye Day School 3-2 in the final.