The nine young men and women representing the United States in the 2016 World Junior Championships in Bielsko-Biala, Poland, this summer have been announced.
The 2016 World Junior Championships commence with the annual Men’s and Women’s World Junior Individual Championships, August 6-11, followed by the biennial Men’s World Junior Team Championship, August 12-17.
The four junior men competing in the biennial team competition include 2015 world juniors individual players Spencer Lovejoy, recent U.S. junior finalist, and Gabriel Morgan, who both make their debut in the team competition.
U.S. junior champion Andrew Douglas and Sam Scherl make their debut at world juniors in both the team and individual competitions. In addition to the four players on the men’s team, Harrison Gill and developmental player Eric Kim will both compete in the individual competition.
“I’m very excited about this year’s group,” said Adam Hamill, Junior Men’s Head Coach. “We have a mixture of outstanding players with a variety of playing styles. Lovejoy and Morgan are returning to represent the U.S. after impressive performances in Holland last year. Douglas and Scherl have both had outstanding seasons, and Gill and Kim round out the team adding great depth and talent. I would characterize this team as being very experienced internationally, hard-working and talented.”
The men’s team, led by Hamill and assistant coach Alex Stait, will aim to top Team USA’s finish of ninth place in the 2014 Men’s World Junior Team Championship in Namibia.
“Improving our standing on previous years continues to be our goal overall, and I believe we can do that with this team” Hamill said. “We are making great strides in preparing for international competition, with more national team playing opportunities and continued support from US Squash and the squash community, we are better positioned than ever to achieve our goals. We have a great summer of preparation planned for the team with extensive testing and detailed programs to help get them ready for Poland.”
Team USA’s best Men’s World Junior Team Championship finish came in 2002 with a seventh place finish in India.
The three women’s individual team members are three of the top four players in the country, including thirteen-year-old Marina Stefanoni who makes her world juniors debut after becoming the youngest junior national champion this month.
Stefanoni, who first competed for Team USA last year in the Pan American Junior Championships, is joined by her nationals semifinal opponent Mariam Kamal, who is making her first appearance for Team USA.
Nationals semifinalist Casey Wong makes her second consecutive appearance at the world juniors after helping Team USA match its best women’s team finish of second place last year in Holland.
The American trio, led by head coach Scott Devoy and assistant coach Celia Allarmargot, will be gaining experience on the world stage with the women’s team championship set to be contested next year.
“I am excited for the group traveling to Poland this summer,” Devoy said. “We have a young, exciting group of new players and I am really looking forward to having them compete with the world’s best. Our experiences this year in Poland will help us prepare for another deep run in the next women’s team event in New Zealand next year.”
In addition to the six world juniors debutantes, coaches Stait and Allarmargot are part of their first world juniors coaching staff since their appointment as Assistant Junior National Coaches in December.
“Not only do we have new players, but a new coaching staff,” Devoy continued. “I feel we will continue to make strides in representing the U.S. and maintain our place as one of the top nations.”