by Ivan Ronaldson
What a great turnout this year. Fifteen entries, six of whom were in serious contention for gold medals in the main events. Friday’s A division matches were all nail-biters, going three sets in the singles and 9-8, 9-7, or 9-6 in the doubles. Philly’s rapidly improving Henry Smith (Henry’s handicap has dropped 20 points in the last year) beat out one of the home favorites, Noah Motz, 1-6 6-5 3-6. Erik Barker dropped the first set 5-6 to Philly’s Spencer Yager before storming back 6-1 6-2. Boston’s Ben Hudson had some trouble with Spencer Yager as well. Ben dropped the first set 6-2, before getting used to the new balls and glass wall, taking the 2nd and 3rd sets 6-1 6-1.
For those of you who haven’t seen Spencer or Henry play, these chaps are national level Squash players who are going to be low teen court tennis players soon!
Saturday saw Barker beat Smith 6-2 6-3, and Motz beat Hudson 6-1 6-2 both in the U26 semis. The home club favorites had settled down into their usual styles. Erik covered the court like a carpet, an iron-willed terrier, retrieving everything. Weapons-hot Noah was just as quick and harder hitting.
In the U23 Singles final Henry Smith got another shot at Erik but the same result. Erik took the gold 6-3 6-4. U26 Doubles Final saw fantastic volleying from Barker and Hudson; the Tomahawk missile forces from Chase Motz and his cousin Noah could not quite break through. Barker/Hudson won 5-6 6-2 6-1.
Two finals left to play on Sunday. In the U23 Doubles Yager/Smith came back from 5-0 down against Barker/Motz only to lose 6-5 6-0. The Noah versus Erik U26 singles final was a back and forth brawl with Erik’s composure finally securing a fourth Gold medal this year after three days of hard fought matches: 6-3 2-6 6-4.
In the B division nine juniors played twenty-eight short handicap matches before Patrick Chitic and Mason Fridenberg emerged victorious in the doubles against Noah Nguyen and Jack Powers. Veer Bahethi snatched gold from his brother Sameer in the singles.
A fantastic weekend of junior court tennis!