By Luke Stone ‘20
There are inexperienced teams, and then there is this year’s JV Squash Team, which returns just two players from last season.
Despite their youth, the Tigers have held their own against strong competition. They opened their season with a tri-match in Charlottesville, where they defeated St. Anne’s-Belfield 9-0 but fell to mighty Mercersburg 6-3. The following week brought losses to Potomac, Mercersburg, and McCallie, but another victory against STAB. While their lone performance in the new year was a loss against Episcopal, Coach Drew Collier is happy with how far they’ve come this season.
“They’re actually doing quite well, compared to what we were expecting, given that there are so many new people.” Collier said. “We’ve got Jack Thomas ‘22 and Sebastian Gibb ‘22, but everyone else is brand new. Turner Edwards ‘22, who got cut from basketball and showed up on a whim toward the end of tryouts, is playing Number 4 on the ladder now. [Dr. Fred Jordan and I] are impressed with the level of talent on the team.”
In addition to Edwards, Collier has been pleased with the progress of several third formers, including Griffin Warlow ‘23.
“I didn’t know Griffin at all before squash, but I like him a lot. He’s always nice, and he never complains–he’s very go-with-the-flow,” Mr. Collier said. He’s not the strongest player on the team, but we’re really glad we kept him.”
While Collier highlighted the contributions of the many new faces on this year’s team, Warlow lauded the coaches and captains for their counsel since the start of the season.
“The coaches have done a really good job of getting a lot of the new players acclimated. They’ve taught us the rules and put us in positions to succeed,” Warlow said. “Sebastian and Jack have taken on some huge leadership roles and have also been two of our best players.”
Warlow is one of many players new to the program and said that the prospect of playing squash competitively for the first time still felt daunting in the fall, but that the coaches at Woodberry have helped him develop.
“I was a little hesitant about picking up squash this year. I’d never seen a squash court before I came to Woodberry, and I just thought I’d try to pick it up because I didn’t have any other winter sports lined up,” Warlow said. “But Dr. [Paul] Erb with Squash Sundays and other events like that welcomed [new players] with open arms, and that has made the environment easy to adapt to.”
The Tigers played the highly-regarded St. Chris Saints on Tuesday and lost, but only 6-3, as Tut Linen ‘22, Ben Monroe ‘22, and Connor Liu ‘23 all picked up impressive victories.