[Above: Georgina Stoker (hitting the ball) & Meredeth Quick (also in white) overcame Steph Hewitt (far left) and Victoria Simmonds in the finals.]
by Chris McClintick
The eighty-fourth National Doubles saw three out of four Open division champions augment title records, two doubles legends continue their mastery through the age groups and six new age division champions.
The first National Doubles was hosted northeast of New York City in 1933, and it was again this year: at the Apawamis Club and Westchester Country Club in Rye, NY; three clubs in nearby Greenwich, CT: Field Club, Greenwich Country Club and Round Hill Club; and three farther away: Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Briarcliff Manor, NY, Chelsea Piers Connecticut in Stamford, CT and New Canaan Country Club in New Canaan, CT. The title sponsor was the Hospital for Special Surgery, a worldwide leader in orthopedics, rheumatology and rehabilitation; tournament proceeds went to Squash Haven, the urban squash program in New Haven, CT. 126 partnerships competed across fifteen divisions.
In the women’s open division, 2018 champion Georgina Stoker combined with new partner Meredith Quick to outlast Stephanie Hewitt & Victoria Simmonds 15-8, 9-15, 15-6, 15-8. For Stoker, it was her second straight national title, while Quick collected her third title since winning her first in 2012 with Hewitt.
“While it’s always hard playing against friends and former partners, I really enjoyed playing with Gina for the first time and her impressive shot-making helped us to capture the tough win in the final,” Quick said. “It was a great event and a special thanks to the tournament committee and Apawamis for making it a fantastic weekend of squash.”
The men’s open division featured twenty teams vying for the coveted crown, with all four top seeds advancing to the semifinals. In the finals, two-seeds Mike Ferreira & Whitten Morris upset top seeds James Stout & Eric Bedell in three hard-fought games, 15-12, 15-12, 15-11. It was Ferreira’s first national title, while Morris celebrated his third overall and first in a decade, adding to his 2008 and 2009 titles with Trevor McGuiness.
“When I won my second title ten years ago I never thought I would make it back into the winners circle,” Morris said. “I was getting older, life was getting busier, and the competition kept getting stronger. Plus the last time the nationals were held at Apawamis, Trevor McGuiness and I lost in the finals 3-0 to Preston Quick and Greg Park–each game by one point. I clearly recall being on the court after the loss thinking I won’t have this shot again.”
The age divisions saw five new champions and four repeat or past title winners. On the women’s side, the 40+ division produced a three-peat champion as Lissen Tutrone & Kat Grant outlasted Libby Welch & Loren Dinger to take the crown. Dawn Gray & Amy Milanek captured their second 50+ title without dropping a game, while long-time partners Sara Luther & Joyce Davenport won an incredible tenth career national doubles title together and their first in the 60+ division, all without dropping a game.
On the men’s side, Shane Coleman & Mark Price won their second straight national title in the 40+ division by edging Steve Scharff & Preston Quick 15-10 in the fifth. In the 50+ division, Ed Chilton & Andrew Slater added to their 40+ and 45+ division titles with a five-game win over Tom Clayton & John McAtee. In the men’s 55+, Dominic Hughes & Rich Sheppard captured their fifth National Doubles title together. They didn’t drop a game all weekend and defeated three seeds Joseph Purrazzella & Charles Parkhurst in the finals.
In the 60+ Patrick Miller & Peter Bostwick won their second career national title together, while in the 65+ division Sandy Tierney & Sean McDonough won their seventh national title together.
Finally, Clark Amos & John Brazilian defeated past 70+ champions Tony Swift & Molson Robertson in a four-game final, while Thomas Poor & Richard Rice dethroned two-time defending men’s 75+ champions Bart McGuire & Len Bernheimer in three games. Poor’s win marks a remarkable thirteen titles spanning the 50+ to 75+ divisions.
None are at the level of the ageless Davenport, though. This year’s title marks her thirty-fourth dating back to her first victory in 1969: nine in the open division; nineteen in the 40+; five in the 50+; and now one in the 60+. It is a stunning half century of excellence in doubles.