AMHERST, Mass. – Future Mammoth Kaetu Wleh (Liberia) was honored with the Squash and Education Alliance (SEA) Ty Griffin Student of the Year Award, as Amherst College and Williams College co-hosted the 17th Urban Individual Nationals from June 14-16.
Students from 17 SEA member programs traveled to Amherst and Williams for the event, first played in Groton in 2003, which has grown to become a beloved tradition and rite of passage for participating players.
In addition to competitive match play in the Simon Squash Center at Williams and Davenport Squash Courts at Amherst, students stayed in the dorms, ate in the dining halls, and met with admissions officers and coaches from private school and colleges.
Each year, SEA member programs are invited to nominate two graduating high school seniors for the Ty Griffin Student of the Year Award. The prestigious honor recognizes two individuals who embody the overarching values of the SEA network: sportsmanship, effort on court and in the classroom, respect and concern for others, integrity, character, and leadership. The award was established in 2015 in memory of Williams College alumnus J. Tyler Griffin, Jr. and provides winners with financial assistance in their first year of college.
Wleh will be the first urban squash player to attend Amherst College and play for legendary head coach Peter Robson. A member of SquashBusters (Boston) since he was in the seventh grade, Kaetu will attend Amherst as a business major.
The Urban Individual Nationals also kicked off SEA's annual fundraising campaign between alumni and friends of Amherst and Williams. If you would like to support the tournament, you can contribute to the $100,000 campaign by clicking on the link below. The campaign ends on July 31.
For the first time, this year's event included Under 11 draws, reflecting the growing number of programs that recruit students in elementary school. In the A draws, Squash Haven captured the Under 13 Girls division, and Racquet Up Detroit won the Under 17 Girls draw. StreetSquash was victorious in both of the Under 19 divisions, and CitySquash came home with three titles: Girls Under 11, Girls Under 15, and Boys Under 15.
Five of the six players from Squash Urbano Colombia who made the trip from Cartagena reached the finals of their respective draws, with three winning divisions: Boys Under 11, Boys Under 13, and Boys Under 15. The South American SEA program is only in its fifth year of operation, and has quickly established itself as a leader in developing squash players.
Amherst assistant coach Stuart Crawford served as one of the tournament site directors for the event.