By Coach Gunn
Defending champions Williston Northampton School earned a third-place finish in the New England Interscholastic Squash Association (NEISA) Class C Championships held at Pomfret School on Saturday, February 28.
Led by three Easthampton natives—senior co-captain Julia Valine, fellow senior Hannah King, and sophomore Lindsay Whipple—Williston’s 41 points trailed only Greens Farm Academy (56) and host Pomfret (49) in earning the third place by one point over Canterbury School (40). Originally seeded fifth overall, this terrific performance was made all the more special as the eight other teams voted Williston to receive the prize for best sportsmanship.
Ms. Valine was a finalist at #2, as was Ms. Whipple at #6—both won in the quarter-finals and semi-finals before tough losses in the championship round. Ms. King won her #7 division with three strong victories to earn her first New England Interscholastic Championship. In her semi-final match, Ms. King rallied back to win 12-10 in the decisive fifth game over Canterbury before winning the finals 11-7, 11-6, 11-8 over GFA.
Caroline Borden (Amherst) won the consolation round at #1 to come in fifth after being seeded eighth. Sofia Triana also won the consolation round at #4 to finish fifth after being the ninth seed. Senior co-captain Hannah Lee played a terrific match to earn sixth place at #2 and senior Tina Zhang won one match to finish over her original seeding at #5.
All seven players won at least one match on the day. Given the narrow difference between third and fourth place, each of those matches made a crucial difference making this performance truly a team accomplishment for and by seven hardworking young women.