by Tom Utescher

The Germantown Friends girls squash team finished fifth at the National High School Team Championships on February 3-5.

At the U.S. Squash High School Team Championships two weekends ago, the girls team from Germantown Friends turned in a fifth-place performance, its best ever at the event.

Also competing in Division I (out of four) at the competition in New Haven, Conn. were Penn Charter, which landed in eighth place, and Springside Chestnut Hill, which finished 14th.

Playing in positions one, two, and three, respectively, Germantown sophomore Olivia Fiechter and seniors Carey Celata and Lydie McKenzie won all of their four matches. Number four Grayson Melby, only a freshman, went 2-2 over the long weekend.

The Tigers opened with a 5-2 win over Access Youth Academy, but on the second day they were edged out, 3-4, by a familiar Philly-area rival, Baldwin School. Penn Charter also won its initial outing, topping Groton, 4-3, but then Charter had to face the eventual national champion, Greenwich (Conn.) Academy. Senior Tara Harrington won in the top spot and sophomore Margaux Losty prevailed at number two, but the home state squad took the rest, winning 5-2.

Both the Quakers and Tigers then went into the “Classic Plate” bracket, which accommodated the teams that left the main draw in the second round.

There, GFS won out, beating both St. George’s School and Saint Ann’s School by 4-3 scores. Germantown’s top three won both times, while Melby swayed the St. Ann’s match and sophomore Claire Schmidt tipped the scale for the Tigers against St. George’s, winning in five games at number seven.

Penn Charter did not fare so well in the “Classic,” bowing to each of the “Saints,” 3-4, to wind up eighth overall. Losty won all four matches she played in New Haven, and freshman number four Izzy Hirschberg was 3-1. Harrington and fellow senior co-captain Amanda Roberts (number three), split their tourney contests, 2-2.

Springside Chestnut Hill started out its weekend against St. Ann’s, falling 0-7 and going into the Consolation bracket. The Lions were also swept by Noble & Greenough, but then fared a little better against Access Youth Academy, losing by a 3-4 count. In local nine-player scholastic matches, SCH’s depth down the ladder helped it win a number of bouts, but in the seven-player format at Nationals, many other squads were simply too strong.

Sophomore number two Caroline Canning, freshman number three Francesca Fabiani, and senior number seven Ellie Stout each took one match for the Lions. Another upperclassman, Kelly Brady, led early in the Access encounter, but was overcome in five games.

Access Youth Academy is a program that was started in San Diego to give positive direction to urban youth, and SCH coach Rich Sheppard reported that their number one player, Reyna Pacheco, is set to attend Columbia University next year.