To be ranked as one of the top 20 squash players of your age group in the nation is impressive, but this week’s Athlete of the Week surpasses even that achievement. He has made top 20 lists every year since the age of ten and shows no sign of halting his streak of dominance. Will Simonton ’03 has been a member of the Phillips Academy Boys Varsity Squash team since he matriculated as a freshman and now serves as Co-captain along with Will Walter ’03. Throughout his Andover career, he has held a record of 46 interscholastic wins with only 15 losses. Simonton became acquainted with the game at the age of three, when he was dealt a miniature racket with which to play. He started in earnest at the age of eight and played his first tournament two years later. Simonton played tournaments for three years before he was able to pull out an overall win. Simonton remembered the feeling after that first win, saying, “Winning my first tournament was pretty amazing, though I was not facing very tough competition. It was still pretty cool to win my first tournament after coming so close for the first three years of my junior career.” Simonton was able to attend these tournaments because of his parents’ overwhelming support of his athletic pursuit. Simonton’s father was himself a star squash player earlier in life. Simonton recognized that his early interest most likely came from his dad. “My dad was previously ranked top ten in the nation in Super A squash, so he introduced me to the game.” Simonton cites his parents as his biggest supporters, followed by several of his friends. “My mom and dad have been the reason for my success. All the sacrifices that they have made, big and small, have allowed me to get on court and get the coaching around. I cannot thank them enough for what they have done.” Simonton’s coaches have also played a large role in his development as a squash player. “I have had several coaches throughout my squash experience and they all have had a huge impact on my game. Ed Chilton, Tom Cone, Imran Khan, Dominic Hughes, and Bryan Patterson have been the most important coaches in my playing experience. Each and every one of them has helped me shape my game to what it is now.” Coach Cone remarked, “Squash has been a large part of [Simonton’s] life for a long time. Over the years, Will frequently came to practice early to sharpen his game. He drilled seriously, kept himself in good condition and played with intense concentration. When Will walks onto a court to start a match, he always reminds me of someone stepping into his office to begin a serious day’s work. Will has set a fine example for others to follow and has helped younger players develop their game.” After three years as a regular player on the team, Simonton stepped up to the role of captain this year. When asked about the position, he commented, “It is really not that much different from being another player on the team. I try hard to motivate other people on the team to work hard on their games on and off the court. It’s been a great experience to have been a Co-captain with Will Walter, who has made such an incredible improvement over the past two years.” Their combined leadership led the team to a 12-1 record this season and a finish in a tie for fifth at Interschols. Simonton plans to continue his squash playing through college. “Next year I am going to the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business, so I will play for Penn during the next four years. I hope to play in the top six on the team as a freshman and steadily climb up the ladder in the following years.” Next year, PA will lose a great squash player. Simonton has been a lynchpin of the team for the last four years; however the skills that Simonton has shown so far at PA should serve him well throughout his squash career.
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