I See the Future…
2005 Future Stars Nationals
Walking into the Brady Squash Center at Yale during the second weekend in April, one was immediately struck by the scene on the all-glass show court: junior squash players of different ages, gender, ethnicity and caliber all competing to be the “Queen/King of the Court.” This game, also known as three-quarter court, continuously played out over the weekend of April 8-10 whenever a court opened up during the Future Stars Nationals (FSN). So whether the kids were participating in the official USSRA-sanctioned junior event or a pick-up game on the side, one thing was consistent: these youth couldn't get enough squash.
This year a record 260 participants played in the Future Stars Nationals (FSN), a tournament conceptualized in 2003 by the USSRA as a way to offer more juniors the opportunity the chance to play in a national event. Prior to then, the only year-end, national tournament for juniors was the US Junior Closed, which in 2002 became capped, open only to players in the 1-32 ranking category. But given the exponential growth of the US junior squash scene over recent years, something had to be done to accommodate more players. Hence the idea of the FSN was born. The Future Stars Nationals is open to players ranked 33 and below.
At this year's FSN, a couple of salient points should be recalled. First, by the April date of the Future Stars Nationals the “traditional” squash season is over—yet this tournament ended up with a record number of players; second, three urban squash programs (Street Squash, City Squash, and Squash Smarts) brought 30 players total to participate in the event; finally, players traveled from as far as California for this event, indicating the value this tournament holds on a national level.
The Under-11 divisions at the FSN are the unofficial National Championships for this young age group. By taking place at the FSN, participants receive all the competition of a National tournament but without the pressure of playing in the US Junior Closed. This year the Boys Under 11 had a full 32-person draw and the Girls Under 11 had a 16-person draw; William Douglass and Marie Elena Ubina won these divisions, respectively. Full results can be found at www.us-squash.org by clicking on “Rail Station.” Below are finals-only results.
Gareth Webber and Julia Harris, both assistants at Yale, along with their team of Yale students did a remarkable job of organizing the tournament.
Next year the US junior tournaments will be categorized as Gold, Silver and Bronze instead of the present rankings-based system. In short, under the new system Gold tournaments will be open to everyone (like normal tournaments), Silver tournaments will be open to those ranked 33 and below, and Bronze tournaments will be open to those ranked 65 and below. Tournament directors will determine the categories for their events. The Future Stars will be replaced with Silver and Bronze junior events.
Please visit the USSRA's website, www.us-squash.org, for complete details on the Gold, Silver and Bronze system.
Calendar alert! Next year the US Junior Closed (Gold) will be held at Yale, March 10-12th, and the US Junior Silver and Bronze Championships will be held at Meadow Mill Athletic Club April 7-9, 2006.
2005 Future Stars Nationals Results
William Douglass d Randy Beck 3-0
Peter Machtiger d Kevin Chen 3-0
RJ Keating d Jake Ingrassia 3-0
Rusty Feldman d Wesley Wynne 3-0
Daniel Geisser d Max Dalury 3-1
Marie Elena Ubina d Hunter Sechrest 3-0
Seldy Gray beat d Calihan 3-0
Sarah Domenick d Cambell Sechrest 3-1
Maura Doherty d Taylor Tully 3-1
Katharine Ettinger d Madeline Sullivan 3-0