A local underdog team with green jerseys did the improbable yesterday, taking home their first national championship.
Sure, the Eagles enjoyed a big victory, but Wilmington’s Tower Hill School also scored a historic win, repeatedly came back from daunting deficits this past weekend to win the National High School Squash championship in nearby Chestnut Hill.
Now in their third year as a team, The Hillers, one of only two Delaware schools with a varsity program, defeated the top-ranked Hill School in Sunday’s finals, 4-3 to secure the national Division 5 bracket crown.
The national squash championships featured seven 16-team tournaments this year on the boy’s side and five 16-team brackets for the girls. Teams fielded seven players with each court playing a best of five game match.
To advance to the final, Tower Hill bested the Rumson Fair Haven school (NJ) 7-0 in round one on Friday; Riverdale High School (NY) in the second 6-1 on Saturday morning; and overcame a 3-1 deficit in the semifinals against Green Farms Academy (CT) to win 4-3 on Saturday evening, setting up the Sunday afternoon final.
In Sunday’s “Hill” school showdown, the teams were evenly matched, but The Hill School stormed out to the early lead, winning the first three matches. Tower Hill stormed back, running the table on the last four matches to claim their flight.
Tower Hill was led by #1 and co-captain Ben Schiltz; #2 Jennifer Cleary (Tower Hill’s team is co-ed); #3 senior and Co-captain Bo Anderson; and sophomores #4 Peter Harris, #5 Aidan Donoho, #6 Sean Beberman, and #7 Alex Racapé. Rounding out the team was alternate Sander Saridakis, also a sophomore. Coaching the Hillers were nationally-renowned pros Ed Chilton of Wilmington Country Club and Ray Chan-a-sue of the Vic Mead Hunt Club.
Tournament highlights for the Hillers included Ben Schiltz going 4-0 against several higher rated opponents, Sean Beberman coming back from 2-1 down in what would have been the deciding match on Sunday to win 3-2, and squad newcomer Peter Harris devastating his opponent 3-0 in the decisive final match in front of a raucous crowd of over 100 onlookers.