As spring starts to kick in, the winter sports season comes to an end, with the squash team ending theirs on a rather positive note. The team lost in three matches against teams from Maryland schools Walt Whitman and Landon, but came out with a second place win in a tournament in which they competed against various schools in the area.
Their season started off rough when they found themselves without a place to practice. Because Wilson does not have its own squash courts, the team is required to pay for their own use of practice space at an outside facility. As explained by Wilson’s athletic director Mitch Gore, the addition of squash courts to Wilson during the school’s renovation in 2010 was considered, but not prioritized due to the lack of available space. Prior to this year, the team had been practicing at Sports Club LA, which recently changed their name to Equinox Sports Club due to a change in management. According to Gore, the club’s management debacle caused their already pricey fee to more than double, for half the amount of practice time. As a result of this complication, the team chose to switch over to Chevy Chase Athletic Club, with the help of the club’s squash director, Connie Barnes.
Barnes helped to form Wilson’s squash team back in 2007, which is how she knew Gore. Her gym is partnered with the charity organization Squash Empower, which helps them to provide Wilson with a cheaper practice space. “The reality is that a lot of schools pay a lot more than Wilson pays [for practice space], but we weigh it on whether they’re members of the club, whether we want to keep them, and whether we feel that it’s important,” says Barnes.
Squash Empower is paired with the Board of Education, and has the mission statement of “Providing underserved children opportunities to achieve through academic tutoring, mentoring, and the sport of squash,” according to the organization’s website. They are currently looking to place a court within a DCPS high school, possibly in Northeast, so that all students have the opportunity to play for free. “Hopefully we’ll be able to start up a squash league within DCPS where several of the high schools would be able to participate. That is our goal,” says Barnes. The program also allows Alice Deal students to participate, in hopes of getting them enthusiastic about the sport before they go to high school.
The team currently has less than 20 players on the roster and is coached by Jim Masland, who is new to the Wilson program this year. According to Barnes, the team does not have any team captains this year, though it is often a highly sought-after position. “It’s kind of interesting because squash is still very much a sport where you don’t have to be a brilliant player to be recruited to a very nice college, and so a lot of kids actually like to have [on their application] that they captained the team.” says Barnes. While they might not be the most known team around Wilson, the squash team’s enthusiasm for the sport shines through on the court, making them winners no matter what the score board declares.
PHOTO FROM WIKIMEDIA CREATIVE COMMONS