By Benito Vila
With sticky, hot and humid weather becoming the norm as August winds down, it would seem natural to expect to find a respite somewhere indoors. Those heading to the cool climes of Southampton Youth Services on Major Path last weekend and again this week were treated two high-level US Squash-sanctioned tournaments heating up the courts in the Elmaleh-Stanton Squash Center.
The inaugural US Squash Under-25 Hamptons Doubles Championship started Monday under the watchful eye of Canadian Gary Waite, a long-time international doubles champion. Ten teams came out for the tournament, players coming mostly from the college ranks along with a few regional squash club pros.
In the men’s final yesterday afternoon were two college players from Philadelphia, Trevor McGuiness (Penn) and Todd Ruth (Yale) matched up against two young pros, Greg McArthur and Graham Bassett, who teach in Greenwich (CT). The Bassett/McArthur pairing had prevailed over Ruth and another partner in a tournament at the Field Club in Greenwich in May.
Ruth’s partner here, McGuiness, is a high school friend and former doubles partner, who has continued to hone his game and is currently the reigning national doubles champion (along with his playing partner, Whitten Morris). The Ruth/McGuiness pairing proved to be more than Bassett/McArthur could handle, the Philadelphia boys taking the best-of-five championship in four games, 15-9, 17-18, 15-12 and 15-7.
As Good As it Gets
On hand for the yesterday’s finals was Victor Elmaleh, a Bridgehampton resident and a former United States National Doubles Champion (1968). Still playing at 91, Elmaleh helped develop the facility at SYS and has encouraged the growth of the sport both locally and nationally.
In watching the action in the final, Elmaleh complemented the play of both teams and whispered, “This is as good as it gets,” while providing insight into what was happening on the court. He and fellow squash enthusiasts and facility sponsors Jim Stanton and Wally Glennon greeted the teams as they came off the court, thanking them for their play and for bringing their level of competition to Southampton.
Plans for Next August
SYS Squash Director, Sayed Selim, served as tournament director for the third annual Sotheby’s Realty Hamptons Squash Junior Open last weekend. Over sixty players, ages 11 to 19, took part, participating in 94 matches (please see a related story on page 1).
Selim was delighted by the level of play in the Juniors Open, and is seeing the sport grow on the youth level locally. “In the last ten months that I’ve been here, there have been more and more kids coming out for lessons, clinics and camps. We are starting to get interest from the schools and I think that’s going to bring even more kids in.”
Looking ahead to next August, Selim plans to offer the two tournaments again and hopes to add in a tournament or exhibition series featuring international players from Eygpt and Europe as well as players from the professional women’s circuit.
Juniors Open Results
The boys’ Under-19 division saw Christopher Wilkinson, of New York and Southampton, take first, with Freddy Hernandez, of the Bronx, finishing as the runner-up. William Douglass, of Brooklyn and East Hampton, earned third, and Robert Zindman, of Belle Mead, NJ, fourth.
The girls’ U-19 crown went to Camille Lanier of Washington, DC with Claire Blumenthal of Greenwich, CT, coming in second. Katherine Elliott-Moskwa, of Princeton, NJ, took third, with fourth going to Alisha Maity, of Bryn Mawr, PA.
Andrew Caidenhead, of the Bronx, came away with the boys’ U-15 title with Steve Cacouris, of Alpine, NJ, notching second. Darius Campbell, of Fordham Station, NY, was third, with Felipe Pantle, of the Bronx, fourth.
Emily Jones, of Rye, NY and Quogue, took the girls’ U-15 draw with Caroline Monrad, of Newton, MA, finishing as the runner-up. Lauren Johnston, of Swarthmore, PA, was third with Emily’s sister, Bella Jones, walking away with fourth.
Caroline’s brother, Stephen Monrad, earned the boys’ U-13 title over Alex Partricolo, of Southampton. Cameron Munn, of New York and Southampton outlasted Esmeralda Mejia, of the Bronx, in the girls’ U11 final.