Brunswick squash team is simply the best in the nation

Brunswick School’s Hayes Murphy in action during a recent squash meet. — Brunswick athletic department photo

Brunswick School’s Hayes Murphy in action during a recent squash meet. — Brunswick athletic department photo

There are many high school teams throughout the country that can say they are the best in their conference. Fewer can brag about being the best in the state and an even smaller number of athletic teams can claim top dog in the region.

The Brunswick School squash team can do one better, as they are able to proudly say they’re the best in the country at what they do.

This year’s Bruins team did something incredibly special. Dominating every team that faced this year, Brunswick finished the season a perfect 14-0 as a team and picked up the Brandes Cup for the best regular season in New England.

During the 2013 New England Interscholastic Squash Championships, Brunswick competed in the 16-team A division and finished first with 109 points. Belmont Hill was second with 108 points and host team Deerfield took third with 90 points.

Out of the top 96 teams in the country, the Bruins were named top dog in the country for the first time in school history.

“I am very proud of this team,” Brunswick School head coach Jim Stephens said. “They’ve won 11 New England championships in the years that I’ve coached them and the last seven years we’ve been finishing second over and over. We’ve has some really good opportunities over the years to win it, but we never did. So to finally get first is great.”

However the squad’s individual performance was even more impressive. Out of a combined 98 matches played this season, Brunswick lost only four games.

Hayes Murphy, David Yacobucci, Jarett Odrich and Yousef Hindy didn’t drop a match this season, while Chris Hart, Benton Turner and Alexander Baldock only lost one game each.

During the New England tournament up in Deerfield, Murphy finished fifth in Division I, while Baldock finished fourth in the No. 2 division and Turner finished second in the No. 3 division. Yacobucci took home second in the fourth flight and Odrich won the No. 5 division. Joining Odrich on top was Hindy in the No. 6 division and Hart in the No. 7 flight.

“They had a great year and they won a New England tournament by one point and that was the most competitive tournament in the 80-year history of the tournament,” Stephens said. “Nobody ever won it by just one point, so that was exciting. We finished the season ranked one in the nation by the U.S. Squash Association.”

The only disappointment for the Bruins this year was that the National Championship meet held at Trinity College was snowed out, due to the February storm that blanketed the area.

“We were ranked No. 1 heading into that tournament and had a really nice draw,” Stephens said. “It was the first time we had a draw that was really fantastic, but we never played. That was a down moment for the kids because they wanted to play it and thought this was the year they could win it.”

Stephens said that the strength of his team was the depth on its starting roster. The proof took place in the New England championships, as Brunswick won the No. 5 through No. 7 divisions.

“They were strong as a group all the way across,” Stephens said. “A bunch of teams have one or two guys that are good, but then they fall off and don’t have the depth that we do. We had good players across the board that finished high in the New England tournament. The reason we were ranked number one is because all our kids were ranked high nationally as individuals, and that’s based on all the tournament play they’ve had over the year.”

Helping to keep the team on top of its game were senior co-captains Baldock and Turner.

“They were great role models for everybody,” Stephens said. “Their work ethic and attitude towards the game was exceptional. The younger kids followed their example, so it’s always good to have a positive example on the team.”

While the team is thrilled for their top ranking in the country, they are hoping to get used to that spot for quite awhile.

In fact, Stephens actually entered this season thinking it was going to be a rebuilding year. Only three squash players, Hart, Turner and Baldock, were seniors on the team this year. Yacobucci just finished his freshman year and Hindy and Odrich are still sophomores. Murphy will be a senior next year.

“The reason that we are good is because these kids are very motivated and always try to improve their game,” Stephens said. “I think all will be playing all summer, training for next season. We are going to miss those three players that are graduating but we have a lot of talent coming back for next year and they are taking it very seriously. A lot of players travel overseas during the summer to play Internationally.”

Baldock has been accepted early into Brown University, while Turner has been accepted early to the University of Pennsylvania. Both will be playing squash collegiately.

Although it will be difficult for the Bruins to repeat the same success as this year’s team did, Stephens believes his squad will be up for the challenge.

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