Over the weekend SquashGym in Palmerston North played host to 33 Boys and 21 Girls teams and over 600 matches at the National Secondary Schools Squash Championships.
Despite the huge numbers there were only really two teams in the race. Palmerston North Girls’ High School cleaned up the female event and Westlake Boys’ High School successfully defended the male title capturing the Ross Norman Trophy for a record 11th time.
Westlake’s win was entirely expected. They won the Auckland and North Island titles without dropping a match and powered through to the final of Nationals winning every single rubber accept for one. Team member Matthew Lucente recalls what happened in the final against St. Paul’s Collegiate.
“We were on championship point and I lost a close rubber. It was disappointing. It was my first loss of the season. I was really annoyed actually, but it’s still been a great season,” he says.
Westlake won the final 4-1. Local opposition Palmerston North BHS was swept aside 5-0. Lucente rated that match as harder than the 5-0 win against New Plymouth BHS.
“Palmerston North were quite stubborn. They had some good players and fought hard,” he says.
Such is the strength of Westlake squash the A’s played the B’s at Nationals. The B’s finished a creditable ninth.
“It was a lot of fun playing the B’s. Were all mates as the squash community is quite small. We have four A graders in our team so we were expected to win,” Lucente recalls.
Lucente is the top ranked U17 junior in New Zealand and is ranked in the top five of the U19 age group. He has been selected for the New Zealand team to play New South Wales and Queensland in a tri-series in Palmerston North soon and he and hopes to win the U17 crown at the Nationals in October.
“School squash has been really fun. I would like to thank our coach who has been really good. I am looking forward to the next few months,” Lucente concludes.
The New Zealand senior boys’ and girls' teams for the Australian series is:
Matthew Lucente – Westlake BHS
Gabe Yam – Westlake BHS
Quinn Udy – Marlborough BC
Corbin Faint – Palmerston North BHS
Temwa Chileshe – St. Paul’s Collegiate
Lwamba Chileshe – St. Paul’s Collegiate
Courtney Trail - Palmerston North Girls High
Rhiarne Taiapa - Hastings Girls High
Kiriana Andrew - Marlborough Girls College
Winona-Jo Joyce - Hastings Girls High
Ruby Turnbull - St Margarets College
Ann-marie Holst - Otamatea High
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