Cope with New England Snow
December 15, 2007, By Kirsten Carlson, Independent News; © 2007 SquashTalk LLC
So Far So Good
The now official theme for the U.S. Junior Open...
No, the chaos does not come from the nearly 400 junior players. Instead is courtesy of Mother Nature. Last year it was a windstorm in Seattle; this year it is a snowstorm and Nor'easter in Connecticut.
As was the case in 2006, Mother Nature took her blows before the tournament, causing some pre-tournament travel issues. The junior players persevered and all made it in time. Like the first-day winners, the storm will also be back in full force tomorrow with another foot of snow.
The players don’t mind the chaos though.
“The kids are having fun, running around, playing foosball in the hallway,” said Trinity Men’s head coach Paul Assaiante.
The tournament based at Trinity College in Hartford—with some early round draws taking place at Westminster school in Simsbury and Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor—had few snags and lots of impressive play on the first day.
“The level of squash is amazing,” Assaiante said. “I am blown away by the diversity of play by the players from 20 countries. Many of the international players look very good. And then you have the American kids poppin’ around. The Domenicks (twins Matt and Alex) are playing great in the Boys Under 19. And Todd Harrity, the little train that would. You look at him and he wouldn’t instill fear into anyone, and then he goes out on court and chops everyone up.”
Harrity is laid back and demure, but after capturing the BU17 crown without dropping a game at last year’s event, players and coaches are aware of what the kid from Wayne, PA can do. Harrity is one of only five US players left in the BU19 out of sixteen contestants remaining.
“He is playing well, looking pretty good,” said Harrity’s coach, Merion Cricket Club head pro Scott Devoy. “I am looking forward to watching him play more as the tournament progresses.”
Another champion from 2006, made a surprisingly early exit from the main draw this year. Vidya Rajan of Bellevue, WA won the GU15 last year, but was ousted in the second round (she had a bye in the first) of the GU17 by Salma Mohamed Nassar of Cambridge, MA. Joshua Pinard of Trinidad and Tobago, made a statement by defeating eighth seed, Gordon Harpur of Ireland in the second round of the BU19.
NEW DIVISION DEBUTS
Spectators at the Open may notice a surprising number of very young players running around this year. The debut of the Boys’ and Girls’ U11 draws gives the youngest players a chance to compete against their true counterparts.
Play in all draws will to gain momentum on Sunday, as the best continue to battle each other—and the elements.