In an auspicious first for Aquidneck Island’s burgeoning middle-school squash scene, St. Michael’s Country Day School hosted the RhodySquash team for a friendly scrimmage on Sunday, 6 December, at Newport Community Squash. Ten players from each program participated. The evenly matched lineups featured close play at all positions, and while St. Michael’s won eight of the pairings, most of the players paid more attention to inhaling the pizza, making new friends, and listening to the tips from those new friends about ways to improve their games.
As always, the five-game matches proved most memorable for the fans. Three of Sunday’s offerings went the distance: Lilly Furtado’s win over St. Michael’s Ashley Breyer, Nelson McMillan’s come-from-behind victory over RhodySquash’s Jaden Petrie, and Charlie de Ramel’s scrappy seesaw win opposite RhodySquash’s Colin McCabe.
Katy Serth (5th grade) during a recent scrimmage against St Micheal’s Day School
Some of the team and supporters at Newport Community squash
The top three players for each squad also displayed in their respective tilts the flashes of skilled play that comes only from hours of devoted practice: Nick McConnell in his win over RhodySquash’s Collin Cord, Hudson Dunn in his win over RhodySquash’s Jonathan Tejada-Corleto (Hudson is currently ranked by US Squash as No. 22 in the United States in the BU11 category), and Bennett Van Liew in his win against RhodySquash’s Sean Pietrie (Bennett is nationally ranked in the BU13 division by US Squash).
RhodySquash is a non-profit organization that combines academic tutoring and squash instruction. This after-school program is modeled after successful urban squash programs in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. The game, fast and so physically demanding, teaches students the importance of self-determination, integrity, sportsmanship, and strategic thinking.
John Wilson, St. Michael’s coach, and Ann Guinan, the executive director and coach of RhodySquash, are at work planning a rematch for January 2015 that will include teams from RhodySquash’s sister programs in Boston and New Haven.
Jiana and Angie with her little brother.