Andover Places Sixth at High School Nationals

Led by four wins from newcomer Alex Kim ’14, Andover battled its way to a 6th place finish out of 16 teams in the boys Division III High School Nationals at Trinity College last weekend. Kim’s play impressed Coach Tom Hodgson, who described it as “wonderfully intelligent squash.” After the St. Georges match last Wednesday, the team prepared for the tournament by meticulously practicing drills, stepping up their conditioning, and studying film to pick apart their games shot by shot. Last year’s team didn’t go to Nationals, so the team this year viewed the trip as a great opportunity to play against the top teams in New England. Fired up from preparation, Andover first faced off against Chestnut Hill. Despite the absence of #3 Hayato Lee ’12, Andover fought hard, and after adjusting to the fast pace of the match, the team edged out a 4-3 win. Following Chestnut Hill, Andover matched up against an experienced William Penn Charter School team. Neither team let up and the match went back and forth until the last game. William Penn prevailed with a 4-3 win. Coach Hodgson commented that Andover’s Teddy Drake ’11, “played heroically in defeat despite many bad breaks.” Drake said, “Our determination and our courageous effort helped us tremendously against each and every one of our opponents, leading to many well-played and close matches.” The next day, Andover traveled to Wesleyan University to square off against Mercersburg Academy and Canterbury School. The first match against Canterbury followed a similar pattern to the previous day’s matches. Both teams battled until the end, when Canterbury scraped out a 4-3 win. Andover’s conditioning paid off in the final match, as the team went in full of energy, despite having played three close matches in two days. After learning from their previous mistakes against Canterbury and William Penn, Andover pulled out a clutch win 4-3 against Mercersburg. Hunter Schlacks ’11 summed up the weekend, saying, “The matches at nationals were great. The teams we played were just at our level, and everyone had tough opponents.” He also added, “The team performed well. We were very close to everyone in the division, and could have probably won the division on another day. Everyone gave it their all and had a good attitude.” With the season nearing an end, Andover will host Brooks on Thursday for the last home match of the season, and then will travel to Deerfield on Friday. Next Wednesday, Andover will meet with Exeter in the last match of the year. Drake looked forward to this week’s matches, saying, “The team gained a lot of experience during the [High School Nationals] trip, which will help us this week against Brooks and Deerfield.”