Surprise Champions!

In a stunning upset, Brooks School's girls 1st squash team defied all expectations and won the 2020 Division IV HEAD U.S. High School Team Squash Championships yesterday.

"It's surreal," said coach Kihak Nam '99, following the squad's victory at the tournament of more than 1,600 players in the Hartford, Conn., area February 20-23. "We're still in shock! It doesn't seem real because we were seeded #15 out of 15 schools, so there was a slim chance of winning. We went in thinking, 'We are going to learn from this experience,' as this team is young, having graduated six of our top eight players last year."

Read all about last year's exciting experience for the team.

In an email to the school community, Director of Athletics Bobbie Crump-Burbank called the win a "tremendous accomplishment." But what made the squad so successful this weekend?

"The girls really stepped up their games against players who are rated much higher than them," said Nam.

They sure started strong on Friday, upsetting second-seeded HLM (a team with players from Lower Merion and Harriton High Schools in Penn.), 7-0. The next day, they triumphed against another Penn. team, Hill School, 5-2, advancing to the semi-finals.

Facing Kent School on Saturday night turned out to be a closer competition. At 10 p.m. the teams were 3-3, with wins from Christy Lau '21 (against Kent's #1 player, to whom Lau had previously lost!), Nina Rossbach '21 and Brigid Woelfel '21. By 10:20 p.m., Brooke Semler '23 came through, too, bringing the score to 4-3 and gaining Brooks entry to the championship match.

At high noon on Sunday, the team battled Delaware's St. Andrew's School for the Division IV national title. Rossbach won her match first, with Melanie Pestana '20 and Semler pulling in points soon afterward for a 3-1 lead an hour-and-a-half into the contest. Ultimately St. Andrew's fell short, while Brooks racked up two more wins to emerge victorious with a score of 5-2 and the championship title.

Learn more about how athletes at Brooks School have the opportunity to compete at the highest level.

Asked to pinpoint the highlight of the weekend, coach Nam had one, simple answer. "Winning the championship," he reflected, "because it was so unexpected: We played one match at a time not expecting to win, and we kept pulling it off!"

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