The St. Paul’s School today became the first secondary school in the state to house on-campus squash courts, according to school spokesman Jamie Smith.
The courts, which today featured clinics by former No. 1 international squash champions Peter Nicol and John White, were made possible by donations from the Seymour H. Knox Foundation and support from anonymous donors, according to a release.
“You can’t write words to describe how excited I am,” said head coach Lanny Springs.
Springs was a “driving force” behind pushing for an on-campus facility. The other eight schools in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association squash conference share time at the Meadow Mill Athletic Club.
“It’s fabulous to have a facility on campus … not to mention the home court advantage,” he said.
The four-court facility was constructed in place of the Kelly Gynasium of the St. Paul’s Middle School, which will now be forming its own squash team in addition to the upper school’s varsity and junior varsity programs.
Former world champion squash players Peter Nicol and John White treated members of the varsity squash team to brief training sessions. White has recorded a high-speed serve clocked at 170 mph, and is the current head coach of the Drexel Dragons, while Nichol held the title of No. 1 in the world for 60 months. (See video.)
St. Paul’s senior Jonathan Warns, 17, was among the returning Crusaders who benefited from today’s lesson. He said he was introduced to squash by his father, who also played the sport.
“They’re unbelievable,” Warns said of the courts. “It’s a great feat, and I’m very thankful for all the people who donated to the school. … It’s going be a very respectable program in terms of our success this season.”