As has been the growing trend in the ever increasing globalized squash world, many U.S. juniors went abroad this summer to hone their skills against some of the best players in the world. Juniors in all skill level categories play in these events to help train for the U.S tournament season in the fall and winter. Playing overseas also exposes players to the pressure of international competition in preparation for possible participation for the Junior Men’s and Women’s World Team events or the Ontario-American Challenge.
Several of the top countries in the world host junior tournaments that are open to anyone in the world who is age eligible to compete. Many national squash organizations, including U.S. SQUASH, England Squash and Racketball, Squash Canada, and the European Squash Federation (ESF) maintain individual rankings for those who participate in their Junior Opens.
This summer, U.S. juniors found success on all corners of the globe. In Egypt, Amanda Sobhy won the competitive GU19 division of the ATCO Junior Open by upsetting top-seeded Columbian Catalina Palaez in the finals. Other U.S. juniors with strong results in Cairo were Hunter Abrams (DE), Brandon McLaughlin (PA), Devin McLaughlin (PA), Michael Mistras (DE), Alexandra Lunt (CT), and Olivia Blatchford (CT). Many additional juniors decided to venture to Europe to participate in the 2009 European Junior tournament circuit. U.S. juniors thrived at the Italian Junior Open which took place June 19-21 in Riccione, Italy. Derek Chilvers (MA) and Eric Bedell (NY) had superb runs and made it to the semifinals of the Boys Under 19 division. There was also a strong American presence at the Pioneer Cup in Cologne, Germany, the Dutch Junior Open in the Netherlands, and the Spanish Junior Open. At the Pioneer Cup, Maria Elena Ubina (CT) placed third in the Girls Under 15 and Olivia Fiechter (PA) placed 8th in the same division. At the Dutch Junior Open, 12-year old Bransten Ming (CA) won the Boys Under 13 division and Dylan Murray (NY) and Olivia Fiechter took second and sixth place in the Boys Under 15 and Girls Under 15 divisions respectively.