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Gilman continues dynasty in squash

Freshman Charlie East, from left, junior Wiatt Hinton, junior Matt Katz, sophomore Will Dewire and junior Brad Levin were part of a Gilman squash team that won its ninth straight Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association championship.
Freshman Charlie East, from left, junior Wiatt Hinton, junior Matt Katz, sophomore Will Dewire and junior Brad Levin were part of a Gilman squash team that won its ninth straight Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association championship. (staff photo by Brian Krista)

Gilman's squash players have fully embraced the concept of team unity — both on and off the court.

Besides competing against one another in rigorous team and individual practices, the Greyhounds are one of the most unified teams that coach Boo Smith has seen in his 12 years on the job.

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"This is a very close-knit team," Smith explained. "You always see them together in school. The kids all get along very well."

Following hour-long team practices at the Meadow Mill Athletic Club, players also compete against each other on their own time.

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"They will go to one of the local clubs and play each other, depending on which club they belong to," Smith said. "They just love the sport."
It certainly shows on the court. Few teams in the area can match Gilman's level of success.

The Greyhounds recently captured their ninth straight Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association squash crown by edging McDonogh School, 4-3.

The Greyhounds' seven-player lineup features freshman Charlie East, sophomore Will Dewire, senior Mitch Ford and juniors Wiatt Hinton, Brad Levin, Matt Katz and Braxton Antill.

"We are strong all the way down the lineup, players one through seven," said Smith, whose team also finished 13th in the nation in the U.S. High School Team Squash National Championships at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. "They all are very talented players.
"If you look at how we did in nationals, we won in the back half of the lineup," he added. "The nice thing about them is most are back for another year."

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One match stood out the most to Smith during the MIAA team championships.

Levin beat McDonogh's Alastair Cho, 4-3, at No. 4 singles.

"It was probably the pivotal match," Smith said. "He was down 2-0. If he loses, we lose."

Smith also had high praise for the performance of Ford, who beat senior Matt Woodson, 3-2.

Earlier it was unclear if Ford, who will play at Amherst College next season, would even compete in any post-season events.

"About two week earlier, he had pneumonia," Smith said. "He was extremely ill and in intensive care. He lost 16 pounds. He was recovering from that and wasn't at full strength. Somehow at the end of that fifth match Mitch found a way to pull through."

Several Greyhounds also shined in the MIAA individual tournament.

Levin (No. 4 singles), Katz (No. 5), Ford (No. 6) and Antill (No. 7) all won titles and swept opponents from McDonogh, 3-0. All four players ended the season with a 24-1 record.

After the MIAA team championships, Gilman competed in nationals.

After winning a national championship last year in Division III, the Greyhounds moved up to Division I this winter, and had a respectable showing in that bracket.

Gilman lost to Episcopal Academy of Pennsylvania and Hotchkiss School of Connecticut, 5-2.

Then, the Greyhounds rebounded to beat both the Lawrenceville School of New Jersey and Poly Prep Day School of New York City, 5-2.

Levin, Katz, Ford and Antill each won three matches at nationals.

"We batted toe-to-toe with some of the best teams in the country," Smith said. "It would have been nice if we pulled out that Episcopal match and that would have put us in the top eight. But I am very pleased with finishing 13th. We learned a lot about our team and we know where we need to go to be more successful."

Over at Roland Park Country School, the Reds sent the team of seniors Annabel Keelty, Julia Potter and Casey Wong and juniors Julia Garber, Sally Askew and Emily Washbu to U.S. High School Team Squash National Championships.

Roland Park finished eighth in Division II. Wong, who has signed to play at Stanford University, and Potter each went undefeated and won four matches.

"It's just a great experience for the girls and see all these other schools playing a high level of squash," said Casey's mother Pat, the Roland Park coach. "These are the top players in the country."

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