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Boys’ V Squash Holds On for Nailbiting Win

Mercersburg’s boys’ varsity squash team picked up a thrilling 5–4 win against a formidable Potomac School squad January 18 in McLean, VA.

Both teams were short a full roster due to safety protocols; Potomac was missing its top player, while Mercersburg played without its #2 and #7 players.

It was a tightly contested match from start to finish, and resulted in a 4–4 deadlock with one match to go. On the way to that showdown, Dawson Hastings ’23 and Roy Kang ’22 both notched satisfying wins at #4 and #8, while Francis Betkowski ’23 and Daniel Zhong ’23 fell at #3 and #6. Azian Subhani ’23 and Evan Howley ’23 were staring down 0–2 deficits at the #2 and #7 positions. Howley fought back in the third, taking a close 11–8 win to stay alive, while things started looking even worse for Subhani, who found himself facing three match balls at 7–10 in the third set. 

But something snapped into place. Subhani won five straight points to take the third set and never looked back—winning his next two sets 11–7, 11–4. Howley kept at it but missed a few crucial chances and lost in the fourth game. Locked in at 3-3, Huzaifa Ibrahim ’24 and Danny Adusei-Poku ’23 took the stage at #1 and #5. Ibrahim gave a dynamic performance, winning in straight sets to give Mercersburg the slight edge, and Adusei-Poku split the opening two games, losing a grindhouse opener 12–14, then winning 11–4. The next two games were both tie breaks, but Adusei-Poku’s opponent emerged with a hard-fought win. 

Enter Jason Jones ’24, playing in just his third-ever squash match. It was all on the line at the #9 position, but Jones was never going to let that get to him. He kept his head down and built a commanding 2–0 lead before all the other matches wrapped and four squads of boys realized they needed to follow every action on Jones’ court. After a strong 4–0 opening, Jones’ opponent mounted a comeback to take the lead 6–4. “At this point, Jason took the reins firmly in hand, and rode straight for the sun,” Mercersburg head coach Ryan Tyree said.

1. Huzaifa Ibrahim ’24 (M) def. Will Cunnion (P), 11–2, 11–8, 11–5
2. Azian Subhani ’23 (M) def. Zaid Nasr (P), 4–11, 9–11, 12–10, 11–7, 11–4
3. Benjamin Choi (P) def. Francis Betkowski ’23 (M) 11–9, 11–6, 11–7
4. Dawson Hastings ’23 (M) def. Jeffrey Nuechterlein (P), 9–11, 11–8, 11–4, 11–7
5. Jackson Mackney (P) def. Danny Adusei-Poku ’23 (M), 12–10, 4–11, 12–10, 13–11
6. Will Forkner (P) def. Daniel Zhong ’23 (M), 11–4, 11–1, 11–3
7. Jack Wigmore (P) def. Evan Howley ’22 (M), 11–7, 11–6, 8–11, 11–7
8. Roy Kang ’22 (M) def. Graham La Force (P), 11–8, 11–9, 11–8
9. Jason Jones ’24 (M) def. Aidan (P), 11–4, 11–6, 11–8

The Blue Storm (3–0) competes Saturday, January 22, at the Mid-Atlantic Squash Organization Tournament at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, VA. “We have high hopes for a full complement of players, and will be ready for battle either way,” Tyree said.