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Squash Stars

12/14/2012

For more than 40 years, Brooks School has been hosting the Francis G. Jackson Squash Tournament, featuring some of the most talented male squash players in the country.

And this year was Brooks’ best team finish in recent history.

The team improved upon last year’s fourth-place finish by moving up to second place, finishing behind Milton. Seif Abou Eleinen ’14 captured the Jackson title this year in the A draws, and Andrew Swapp ’14 of Andover, Mass., won the D draws.

Last year Seif, who hails from Alexandria, Egypt, captured both the Jackson Squash Tournament and the U.S. Junior Open Squash Tournament titles within weeks of each other.

“Once again the sportsmanship of the 63 ISL players was superb, Frank Jackson would have been impressed,” said Doug Burbank, boys squash coach. “The Brooks side played well especially Andrew Swapp, a pleasant surprise D Flight champion, and defending A Flight champion Seif Abou Eleinen.”

Burbank said the league is very strong at the top this year with Belmont Hill (one of the top teams in the country) with Milton right behind them.

“At the Jackson Squash Tournament, Brooks proved it can compete for a position near the top of the league” he said.

Andrew said it was a great feeling to win at home in front of a big crowd.

"Our whole team has been working really hard so far, and I really think it showed in our finish in the tournament. It also makes it easier when you're playing with someone at Seif's level every day," said Andrew who has been playing squash at Brooks since freshman year. He's been a tennis player hsi whole life, and felt pretty comfortable with a racquet. "I realized now that the two sports are very different, but i've ended up really loving it."

In addition to Seif and Andrew’s victories, No. 4 seed Seve Elkin ’14 won two of his four matches in the C draw. Andrew has made great strides this year, said Coach Burbank, after playing all last year on the 2nd team.

Seif enjoyed the tournament, especially his final match — it was against a fellow Egyptian who attends St. George’s, who is one of Seif’s friends from home. “It was really fun,” said the fifth-former.

So is there a difference between how Americans play squash and how Egyptians play it, given the sport’s huge popularity in his home country? A slight difference, Seif said.

“American players are very solid in their fundamentals and playing style,” while Egyptians players have a creative, aggressive approach to the sport, he said.

Next up is the U.S. Junior Open Squash Tournament, where he’ll be moving this year from the U17 age group to the U19 group. “It’s a big deal this year because lots of college coaches will be there,” said Seif, whose younger brother Aly will also be playing in the tournament in his own age group.

Click on the photos below to see the full gallery.

Helen Bernhard '15 and Andreina Benedith '14 will also be competing in the U.S. Junior Open this weekend through Tuesday. The event is the largest junior squash tournament in the world with more than 800 players from nearly 30 countries. The tournament will be played at Harvard, Northeastern and Belmont Hill. Most draws are 128 player draws.

You can follow all the action at here. Click on either BU19 link for Seif or GU17 for Helen and Andreina.

Andreina plays at Belmont Hill School on Saturday at noon, Helen plays at Belmont Hill School on Saturday 4:15 p.m. and Seif plays at Harvard on Saturday at 5:15 p.m.

It’s quite a sibling affair: in addition to Seif’s brother, Helen’s brother Alex is playing in the U13 as well.

Want to Know More?
To learn more about the Brooks School squash program, check out the Brooks boys 1st squash team page here, and the girls 1st squash team page here.