By Mitch Silver
It’s feast or famine for the Rye Country Day Boys’ Squash team. Feast first: The Grandview Avenue Boys swept through King 7-0 a week ago and followed that up the next day with a 5-2 win up at Trinity-Pawling. Earlier victories over Charterhouse School U.K. (7-0), Hackley (4-3), Masters (5-2), and Rye High (6-1) have guaranteed the Wildcats a winning record heading into Nationals this weekend in Philadelphia.
Now for the famine: Head Coach Alex Langerhorst’s squad is still striving to join the area’s squash powerhouses. This season they’ve lost to Hotchkiss, Hopkins, Taft, and Brunswick by a total of 24 matches to 4.
There are at least a couple of reasons for the all-or-nothing look of the season record. First off, this is a very young Wildcat team. Only Rick Burke, playing at No. 1, is a senior among the top players. Then there’s the fact that many of Rye Country Day’s foes are not simply regional powers…they’re nationally ranked. Brunswick’s boys, in fact, were national champions in both 2015 and 2016 and runners-up last year.
As Assistant Coach Andy Lopez explained, private school squash programs, once they establish themselves as winning programs, are more likely to stay on top than public school teams. The reason? Parents direct their squash prodigies to the nationally ranked schools. The level of practice and play are tougher, and the visibility greater when it comes to college recruiting. “We’re still seeking that kind of reputation,” Coach Lopez said.
The Wildcats get another chance to build their reputation when they take on New Jersey’s Blair Academy at the Germantown Cricket Club this afternoon at 1:30 p.m.
The Wildcats produce a little pre-match togetherness as Coach Andy Lopez and Head Coach Alex Langerhorst consult the line-ups.