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Middle and High School National Championships

By Cristian Nuñez

Middle and High School National Championships

Squash and education have strong links in the US. From street programs to college, many juniors hit the black ball for first time in a school court.

I am quite new to the country and something that drew my attention immediately is the High/Middle schools competitions sanctioned by US Squash. This is a great example of the games development at grassroot level.

Championships are held once a year in January/February – lasting for 3 days – and bring together from 500 to 1000 kids and families in an exciting team tournament environment. This is a fantastic way to fuel the growth of the sport.

There are 16 teams in each division, and there could be up to 8 divisions in each tournament. Schools put together a team with a roster of 5 to 7 players in each team.

Last year 191 teams, boys & girls, took part in the high school competition and 89 teams participated in the middle school tournament. All matches are transmitted live on YouTube and there is great coverage through social media.

The game is growing

While most teams are coming from private schools, the game is growing in public schools too, an example of this is Millburn Middle School from NJ, which featured strong teams competing in the top division for both boys and girls.  The girls actually finished 3rd nationally, which is an amazing achievement given that the school doesn’t have an official program.

Hats off to the US Squash and all the schools and coaches involved. The work involved organising the tournaments is impressive and definitely not done in vain. A great addition for next year would be some editing of the material produced. Perhaps a small video, including the highlights of each day or the tournament as a whole, could go a long way when sharing the success of the event with the rest of squash community. This also could serve as a source of inspiration for other associations around the world looking to replicate this model.

Here are some useful links:

·       Squash school leagues

·       2019 competition in youtube

·       2020 Middle School Championship – January 31st to February 2nd

·       2020 High School Championship – February 21st to 23rd

US Squash twitter and facebook pages are the best way to keep updated – they do a really good job on the social media side.

The 2020 editions are coming in January and February and I am curious to see the development of the program – how many schools will be there this year, and how the different schools  perform this time. Also I wonder if this happens in other countries. Do you know any national championships played at school level in your country?

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