The week of Dec. 7-13 had to have been the best week in Cate School Squash Team history for both quality and quantity. Everyone improved, everyone had some wins, and the team bonding was even better. As a coach, it is what you aspire to. I could not be more proud.
Sunday, Dec. 7, we traveled to the Los Angeles Athletic Club to play a combined group of LAAC juniors, the newly formed women’s club team from USC, and the USC men’s B Team. JP Rothie coaches the USC teams, and Stefan Casteleyn, the newly appointed pro at the LAAC arranged for the juniors and the courts. We played 17 matches and prevailed in eleven, winning the top four matches while only losing two games. The tightest match of the day was at number 10 singles, when USC’s No. 3 Ghia Godfree came back to beat Paul Hwang in the fifth game. We are hoping to have a return match in Santa Barbara Jan 17, 2009.
Friday December 12 we drove to Redwood City to play Richard Elliott’s juniors, a tradition we started six years ago. We have watched his players develop from 9 and 10 year olds wielding racquets almost as big as themselves to serious nationally ranked juniors. I let him know our ability level and he selects a team to give everyone a good match. On this occasion we played 22 matches and won 18. Rohit Goswamy again won at No. 1, while Nathan Li won twice, also prevailing over their No. 1 player. These matches are scheduled for individual experience, team-building, and teaching and are NOT pitting their club against our school. It was again a wonderfully hosted and productive afternoon.
On the morning of Saturday, Dec. 13, we played a group of Gunn High School students from Palo Alto mixed in with other juniors from around the area who train and get some instruction from Mark Talbott, coach of the Stanford Women’s Intercollegiate Squash Team, and the Stanford men’s club squash program. Doug Mohr is actually in charge of the junior program which has again grown substantially since the courts were built 4 years ago. Here we played 30 matches, winning 21. We did prove to be stronger than the team from Gunn, but William Mohr was the best player during the morning matches besting both Rohit Goswamy and Van Som in close matches.
That afternoon, we traveled to Santa Clara to the Decathlon Club to play juniors coached by Jonathan Perry. In prior years he has needed to supplement with adults, but on this day he had a full complement. We played 27 matches winning 16. Decathlon’s Johann won his first two matches at No. 1, beating both Rohit Goswamy and Cam Seo, before he finally met his match from Nathan Li. Nathan lost the first game, but stormed back to win the last three closing out a fantastic day for Cate Squash. 6 ½ hours later we arrived back at Cate.
66 wins to 30 losses for the week, just less than 1,000 miles traveled, no injuries and improvement seen from each player. Teammates cheering and coaching each other, as there were always four or five matches going on simultaneously.
Ed Note: Both the Cate and Gunn school programs are U.S. SQUASH Junior Endowment Fund Grant recipients.