Local pre-qualifier winners gearing up to compete against the world’s best

The four stars of the U.S. Open pre-qualifier tournament held in Philadelphia through July and August have won their places into the 2012 Delaware Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships.  They are now readying themselves to compete against the world’s best players as well as top U.S. junior, college and professional players in the U.S. Open Qualifying Draw matches that will kick off the tournament starting October 4.

Amy Gross is a born and bred Philadelphian.  Currently the Assistant Squash Coach at the University of Pennsylvania, she grew up playing at the Cynwyd Club in Bala Cynwyd, and as a junior she was ranked #1 in the United States for a number of years.  She competed in ten junior national and international championships, and represented the U.S. at the World Junior Championships in Belgium (1999) and Malaysia (2001).  Amy continued her playing career at Yale, where her team won three national championships.  She was a four-time 1st team All-American, ranked top 10 in college squash all four years, and captained the Yale team in her senior year.

Former world #52 player Alex Stait is now a squash professional at Merion Cricket Club in Philadelphia. Alex was a top junior player in the UK, reaching the top five ranking in all junior age groups. He won three national schools squash championships with Wycliffe College. Alex played the PSA tour and reached a ranking of 52 before a chronic knee injury and four operations forced him to retire from the tour.  Since then Alex has been the Head Professional at Alderley Edge Cricket Club and Bowdon Cricket Club in Cheshire England, as well as working for England Squash on the North West Regional programme.  Alex recently got back into the game at Merion and is enjoying the experience of once again playing competitive squash.

Jamie Macaulay grew up in the Shetland Islands, on an island 14 miles by 4 miles, with one squash court in the local gym.  He picked up his first racket at 5 years old, and went on to a successful junior career playing for one of Scotland’s most elite boarding schools, Merchiston Castle School, where his team won two national championships.  He later joined the pro tour, travelling to 28 countries in 28 months to compete professionally.  He has worked as a squash pro at a number of clubs in Scotland, and has founded the Scozzie Squash Academy, which he now works as the president.  Jamie is currently a teaching professional at Fairmount Athletic Club in King of Prussia, PA.

Joe Russell grew up in England, where he was a top junior player.  He played on the PSA tour for two years, reaching a world ranking of #167.  After coming to the U.S., Joe has worked as a teaching professional at several clubs in Philadelphia and Chicago.  Since being in the U.S., Joe has continued to competing more informally in singles events; he won the U.S. SQUASH Championship Skills Level in 2010 with three straight 5-game victories.  Joe is currently the Director of Squash at the Episcopal Academy.

Qualifying Draw matches will be played at Drexel University, Merion Cricket Club, Germantown Cricket Club, and the Racquet Club of Philadelphia.

 

 

Qualifying rounds:

October 4 – Men’s qualifier matches played between 5-9pm at Germantown Cricket Club, Merion Cricket Club, The Racquet Club of Philadelphia, and the U.S. Open’s official host venue Drexel University.

October 5 – Men’s qualifier matches played between 6:30-8:30pm at Germantown Cricket Club, Merion Cricket Club, The Racquet Club of Philadelphia, and the U.S. Open’s official host venue Drexel University.

October 6 – Women’s qualifier matches played between 12-8pm at Drexel University.  Men’s main round also at Drexel University between 12-9pm.

October 7 – Women’s qualifier matches played between 2-6pm at Drexel University.  Men’s main round also at Drexel University between 12-9pm.

Club details:

Drexel University – Daskalakis Athletic Centre, 3315 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

Germantown Cricket Club – 411 W. Manheim Street, Philadelphia, PA 19144. Tel: 215 438 9900

Merion Cricket Club – 325 Montgomery Avenue Haverford, PA 19041. Tel: 610 642 5800

Racquet Club of Philadelphia – 215 S. 16th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102. Tel: 215 735 1515