_Max Fern ’18 proved to be instrumental in Andover Boys Squash’s success at the U.S. Squash High School National Championship (Nationals) on Saturday. The newcomer from New Haven, CT., won all four of his matches and launched Andover to a third place finish in the Division III bracket of the national tournament. As the number four seed, Fern has been a surprising impact player for the Senior-filled team. For his contributions both during the regular season and at Nationals, Fern has earned the title of The Phillipian’s Athlete of the Week._
__What did you think that you did best in your four victories this weekend?__
I was really mentally there. It wasn’t that my skills were better than all the kids – physically tougher than the other kids – it was just that I was mentally there. Being with the team on the trip, it was all squash. There were no distractions. I was able to stay focused and do the team a service.
__As a player, what is your biggest strength?__
I would say that my biggest strength is my ability to adapt in between games. Even if the first game doesn’t go so well, I am able to recover. [Coach Tom] Hodgson is really smart and helps me exploit the weaknesses of my opponents and use my strengths to my advantage.
__What do you feel that you add to the team?__
We are a really old team. Out of the nine players on the team, six of them are Seniors. Having some younger guys on the team brings new energy. We bring different skills sets, different talents, different mentalities. It helps the team get better.
__How did the pressure of being known as a potential impact player once you stepped onto campus in the fall affect your game?__
We have a lot of experienced guys, as I mentioned before, like Michael Hoang ’15. He has been a great captain. He has really helped me integrate with the guys on the team. This is the first time that I’ve really felt comfortable here [on campus]. I feel really comfortable on the team. I feel like it’s my duty to show the team that I can be an impact player. I need to do my part – it can’t be on just the Seniors to carry the load.
__What are your goals for the rest of the season, after coming off of such an impressive showing at Nationals?__
We have Interschols coming back. We are hoping to make Class A. We also have a big match tomorrow against St. George’s. They played in Division I at Nationals. My goal is to take home a big win tomorrow. Other than that, my goal is to beat Exeter one more time at the end of the season.