After a fast and furious start to the 2018-9 campaign, we have a couple of weeks to rest & reflect.
Karan Dhiman '19 and Mia Lake '20 headed for Harvard at semester's end to compete in the U.S. Junior Open tournament. The Bears struggled in the early rounds of the U-19 divisions -- not surprising given the size of the event (said to be the world's largest with approximately 1,000 competitors) and the depth of competition. The atmosphere at the event was amazing, however, and Coach K. was impressed by their fighting spirit and their grace under pressure. "Both of these athletes are on the cusp of some big wins," he reflected. "Now Karan and Mia need to keep working hard to can bring their strategic savvy up to speed with their skills and passion."
The event also provided the competitors a great opportunity to meet up with some college coaches as they consider that whole process. (See this entry for additional college news for Berkshire squashers.) A wonderful Thai meal with the massive Jamaican delegation (the Lakes & Dhimans & Walkers [Jonathan attends Suffield Academy]) provided a lovely culmination to the first weekend and fueled the Bears' subsequent competition in Andover.
Girls Varsity Begin 4-1
First up for the Bears was friendly foe Canterbury. The Saints marched in without their #2, who was out with a concussion, and the Bears took quick advantage, resulting in a comfortable 6-1 victory. Co-captains #2 Kate Whitman and #4 Elise Johnston led the Bears through pre-game warm-ups, lineup announcements and ARETE stomp with great aplomb, then continued their winning ways against their navy-clad foes.
Things got a lot tighter in the next match, but the top four again held firm to secure a 4-3 win against Greenwich Academy. Rookie #3 Amanda Miller '22 was impressive from the start, slugging her way past older opponents, to the delight of her parents and a massive multi-generational crowd of supporters. A lovely dinner at the Whitmans' capped a great afternoon. Two days later, Berkshire welcomed Nichols School to contest the Clough Cup. Missing their talented #1, the visiting Vikings fought hard, but their efforts to pillage and plunder were rebuffed. Led by a stellar effort from Mia Lake '20, The Bears carried the afternoon 6-1 to claim a 3-2 advantage in the series.
Next up was a tri-match at Miss Porter's on reading day. Things started well, with the Bears knocking off the Hilltoppers 5-2 with #7 Schuyler Coughlin '20 and #5 Rylan Kennedy '21 securing epic five-game wins. But Berkshire's focus waned, and their luck ran out, as the host team eked out a 4-3 win.
2-1 Start for Boys Varsity
The boys opened their season by hosting Class-A powerhouse Hotchkiss. The Bears battled bravely against the Bearcats but came up short in all seven scoring matches. Hudson Tuckerman '21 managed the sole win in a gripping five-game exhibition match.
Things got easier the next time out as Berkshire swept a double-header at Westminster. The Bears took down the host Martletts by a 6-1 margin and achieved the same dominant score against the Pelicans of Loomis-Chaffee. Coach Perkins was thrilled with the way that his team rebounded. Especially impressive was the fact that Berkshire was undefeated below the #2 position on the day. (#1 Hussien El-Dessouky '19 and #2 Andrew Patty '20 both split in their outings.) Burnham Johnston '21, Tad Koenigsbauer '20, Karan Dhiman '19, Cooper Pearce '21 and Kevin Rhee '21 posted clean slates on the afternoon.
According to captains El-Desouky and Dhiman, the team were proud of their sweep and thrilled to have Berkshire squash ambassador along for the ride. Chipotle on the way home proved a popular refueling opportunity. A crucial contest again Millbrook was postponed from the semester's final Saturday as the Mustangs were suffering a campus-wide of strep throat.