Madeleine Mayhew ’15, a four year Senior from New York, NY., is the undoubted leader on the ladder of Girls Varsity Squash. Against Groton at the Divison I National Championships, Mayhew won a gutsy performance, winning the last game 14-12 to secure a 3-2 victory in an eventual Andover victory. For her contributions on and off the court, Mayhew has been awarded The Phillipian’s Athlete of the Week.
What have you done lately that has equipped you for such success?
I play for my teammates. I’m going to push harder, I’m going to win this game for them even if I have to play until 19-17 [when the score normally goes to eleven]. It’s in those moments, and I’ve had ton of them this season, when I know that I want it for the team. One of our team slogans is ‘want it.’ As a squash player, you need a lot of mental toughness to win. What gives me the will to want it are my teammates.
As a Senior on the team, how have you mentored the other girls on the team both on and off the court?
I am a hands-on captain. As a Senior, I’ve tried to mentor them by giving them as much advice as I can and by being there for them. I know a lot about the game of squash and how to train to play the game, so I try to teach through my own experience. I try and act as a teacher in some ways and as a friend in other ways. I lead by example and try to do as much as I can for everyone else and make sure that everyone else is comfortable before I am.
Over the course of your Andover career, how has your relationship with Coach Jennifer Elliott changed and improved?
She’s my idol. I really aspire to be her. We’ve really bonded on the court and off the court. She’s my history teacher, advisor, former house counselor and coach. She’s really like my mother on campus. Now that I’m a Senior, she relies on me as much as I rely on her, to some extent. Me being captain has allowed her to open up to me. It’s definitely a unique relationship that I won’t be able to find anywhere else.
What is your biggest strength on the court?
My positive attitude. You can have perfect strokes, perfect length and if your head is not in it, you will automatically lose. If you go into a squash match thinking that you are going to win, you have a much higher chance of winning [as opposed to thinking that you’re going to lose]. It’s so mental, and of course physicality matters. But strength of core and strength of mind are way more important than strength of body.