Banner Year for Doubles

Spearheaded by Narelle Krizek (2nd from left), the Women's Doubles Squash Association continues to grow. In the Player's Championship in NYC, Krizek teamed up with Suzie Pierrepont to defeat Stephanie Hewitt (L) and Meredeth Quick.
Spearheaded by Narelle Krizek (2nd from left), the Women’s Doubles Squash Association continues to grow. In the Player’s Championship in NYC, Krizek teamed up with Suzie Pierrepont to defeat Stephanie Hewitt (L) and Meredeth Quick.

By Morris Clothier, Chairman—U.S. Squash Doubles Committee

The 2009/2010 doubles season was extremely successful, possibly the most successful in the sport’s history. U.S. SQUASH and the U.S. SQUASH Doubles Committee oversaw a record nine separate national championships with close to 400 total teams participating in six different cities. The sport has strong leadership at almost every level, including professional, open, intercollegiate and junior in both the men’s and women’s game. The U.S. Squash staff and committee continue to be committed to nurturing and growing all aspects of doubles.

Much of the credit for this year’s national championship successes belongs to the local organizing committees and their leaders. To scratch the surface I would like to recognize Bob Travers, John Voneiff, Bob Everd and Andrew Cordova (U.S. Men’s and Women’s championships); Molly Pierce, Vince McGuinness and Nigel Thain (Mixed); Simon Aldrich and Jason Hicks (Father & Son); Ben Gould, Will Osnato and Gary Waite (Intercollegiates); Preston Quick and Jeannie Blasberg (Parent/Child, Sibling); Ed Chilton (Juniors); Narelle Krizek and Graham Bassett (U25); Kit Tatum (Century).

The Elmaleh Project, headed by Gary Waite, continues to make strides in the development of players under 30. Through his leadership, we have several new events highlighted by the first under-30 extravaganza in Boston with the running of the inaugural Poor/Bernheimer Cup. Named in honor of Tom Poor and Len Bernheimer, this event is designed for young men and women, boys and girls, between the ages of 10 and 30 and was highly successful in its first year.

Doubles is seeing the emergence of strong young leaders, including Josh Schwartz, Tim Wyant and Pete Karlen, who started a major new men’s and women’s invitational at the New York Athletic Club and Coly Smith, who started a men’s invitational at the Piping Rock Club.

The professional game continues to make significant strides as well. James Hewitt and Narelle Krizek, who run the ISDA and WDSA professional tours, respectively, continue to make positive headway. The ISDA had five events with prize money greater than $35,000, which included the $100,000 Briggs Cup and $50,000 Kellner Cup. The WDSA had a groundbreaking event with the Turner Cup, the first major women’s professional doubles event ever held in NYC.

It is also worth pointing out a new generation of talented doubles players is emerging. Led by two-time national champion Trevor McGuinness, there is a significant pool of highly talented players on the horizon. It will be exciting to see them develop.

The U.S. Squash staff had a particularly outstanding year. Kevin Klipstein, Dent Wilkens and Conor O’Malley deserve special recognition for their support of doubles.

2009/10 was a significant year for doubles squash. It was a year of enthusiastic leadership at all levels with synergy and collaboration between tournament organizers and U.S. Squash. Doubles is poised to have dramatic growth if these initiatives continue.