By Juliana Yao, Staff Reporter The boys’ squash team has an impressive track record, with three Division V National Championship titles under their belt, and a second place ranking in public school programs in 2020. This year, the team is aiming higher than ever, planning to compete in Division I in February. This years’ A...
By Juliana Yao, Staff Reporter
The boys’ squash team has an impressive track record, with three Division V National Championship titles under their belt, and a second place ranking in public school programs in 2020. This year, the team is aiming higher than ever, planning to compete in Division I in February.
This years’ A team is arguably the best in Conestoga’s history, with incredible talent and the number one ranked squash player under the age of 17 in the country, Rishi Srivastava. The group is relatively young, because many of its athletes have been playing for Conestoga since middle school. So, they have had many years to bond with each other.
“I feel like for a lot of teams, they know everyone, but they are not necessarily as much of a team,” said senior and co-captain Jeffrey Tan. “More so than others, we had the opportunity to actually grow as a team, to be there for each other since the beginning.”
The team dynamic is important to the players despite squash being an individual sport. Every player depends on each other to bring their best to the court, and the relationships teammates have with each other helps athletes individually.
“When playing matches, knowing that your team is cheering you on, your teammates — these guys that you’ve known all these years — are there for you just provides extra motivation,” said senior and co-captain Arjun Arasappan. “When you’re running court sprints and your teammates tell you to push, you get reminded that you’re not just here for yourself, you’re doing it for the team.”
The team’s relationship is not the sole reason behind their strength; coach Cameron Hopkins believes there are a multitude of factors that distinguish this team in his 16 years of coaching.
“They work incredibly hard and are competitive with one another, but at the same time, they respect each other. I’ve had lots of teams that have had these characteristics before. This team just has it a little more pronounced,” Hopkins said. “Plus, post-COVID, they’re special in the sense that there have been a lot of firsts: first match back in two years, first practice back in two years, things like that.”
The team’s Instagram account has helped draw attention to both boys squash and squash as a sport. As a humorous documentation of their success, the account has been a way for the team to express their dedication to the sport. Crowd turnout at matches improved this year, building team spirit and pride as a result.
With only one loss so far against Haverford, the boys are hopeful for this season. Debuting the team’s two new classes this year, Tan is confident that the training they’ve put in together is bound to pay off.
“Even though it’s a little bit cliché to say ‘the power of friendship’ or whatever, in essence, I feel like I see that within our team more than any other in the country,” Tan said. “In terms of how long you work with each other, it’s something that I don’t think any other team really has.”
Juliana Yao can be reached at [email protected]
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