Following a full year of competition in selection tournaments and a final playoff held at Williams College in April, U.S. SQUASH named the members of the 2010 U.S. Junior Men’s Squash team that will compete at this summer’s World Junior Squash Championships in Quito, Ecuador, July 27-August 1. Eight juniors will be making the trip to Ecuador: Brandon McLaughlin (PA), Ash Egan (MA), Dylan Murray (NY), Christopher Jung (WA), Dylan Ward (PA),, Bryan Keating (MD) Devin McLaughlin (PA) and Liam McClintock (MA).
The World Junior Men’s Squash Championships consist of two events: the team event and the individual event. Competing for the U.S. in the team event will be Brandon Mclaughlin, Murray, Egan and Jung, while Ward, Keating, Devin Mclaughlin and McClintock will join their teammates in the individual event. Brandon Mclaughlin will most likely be competing at the top position on the squad. The No. 1 player on this seasons U.S. High School Champion Episcopal Academy, Mclaughlin capped off a stellar junior career by winning the U19 title over Murray at the Jr. Closed Championships in March. Egan, this year’s recipient of the Deroy Sportsmanship award, earned his way on the team by virtue of strong finishes at the 2009-2010 selection events, including a win at the West Coast Junior Championship Tour (JCT) event, as well as winning the World Junior Men’s team playoff. The mercurial Murray, the youngest player on the team at age 15, consistently played two age groups up this past season, posting strong results in selection events, reaching at least the semifinals in all five JCT’s, including a win at the University of Pennsylvania event. Jung was a consistent performer all season, also reaching at least the semis of all five JCT’s, securing his spot in the top four with a win in the 3/4 match at the World Junior Men’s Team Playoff.
Accompanying the team to Ecuador will be Head Coach Martin Heath and Assistant Coach Adam Hamill. Heath believes the goal of this team is a top-10 finish. The 10,000 foot altitude is the biggest unknown, but he has designed a training regiment based on adapting, including the possible use of Hypoxic masks and tents. Brandon McLaughlin says he is uncertain about how the altitude will affect him but is up for the challenge and will be in as good of shape as possible. As a successful collegiate coach at the University of Rochester, Heath knows the team dynamic is similar at all levels, and doesn’t see any issues with these junior rivals forming a cohesive unit. “They have a shared goal, and once they put on the USA jacket there will be a feeling of pride and they will be ready to pull each other towards that goal.” Brandon McLaughlin agrees, saying, “We are playing for a greater purpose.” Although the team will be geographically dispersed throughout the country and in some cases, the world, during the early summer months, they will head to Ecuador a week in advance of singles play to get acclimated.
Although the 2010 U.S. Junior Men’s Squash team lacks the experience of the squad from 2008, this group has proved it’s durability over the long selection process and will represent the United States well on the world stage in Ecuador.