Brunswick, Greenwich, Heavy Favorites at 2019 High School Championships
by David Keating

January 30, 2019 - There are favorites and then there are overwhelming favorites. Brunswick’s boy’s varsity team is the latter. Greenwich Academy’s girls team is also a very strong favorite, but not quite as heavily favored as Brunswick.

Both are the #1 seeds at the 2019 Head U.S. High School Team Squash Championships, which starts tomorrow in Connecticut. The two schools are a short walk from each other and students at the two schools can take co-ed classes at either school.

The only thing that can stop either team from winning every match by at least a 5-2 margin is complacency. Squash players have been known to play to the level of their opponent, so there could be some surprises along the way. But there’s little doubt each will win, which would mark Brunswick’s second straight title and Greenwich’s fourth.

If every player plays to his potential, and skill rating, amazingly every Brunswick player is the favorite in every match. It’s possible the team could win each of its four team matches with perfect 7-0 scores.

However, my computer model predicts each will take the title and only drop about four matches on the way to doing so.

Brunswick is so good that their “B” team has a 5-8 seed and, with the luck of the draw, drew the #5 seed. Greenwich’s “B” team has the #6 seed.

I analyzed the skill ratings of all 121 teams in the boys division. At ladder positions #2 through #7, Brunswick has the player with the highest skill rating. Their #1 is ranked 4th. But two of the three who have higher skill ratings are in lower divisions, so their #1 has the second highest skill rating, at 5.77, in the top division. I was not able to rank the girl’s ladder players in time for this article.

In short, if Brunswick fails to win the title, it would be one of the biggest upsets ever.

So the real fight will be for the privilege to play Brunswick in the final.  Haverford is the best bet to make it, but first they will have to fend off Bronxville, Avon Old Farms and Episcopal Academy, if the results play out by the seeding. The latter two teams, or St. Paul’s School, which could knock off Episcopal, should give Haverford good competition.

If you’re a fan of first round upsets, the teams to watch are Belmont Hill School, a 9-12 seed, taking on Avon Old Farms, a 5-8 seed. The most likely result, either way, is a 4-3 victory. But upsets are also fairly possible for Hotchkiss taking down 5-8 seed Springside and Chestnut Hill Academy or Shipley defeating Brunswick’s B team.

One team to watch is Owing’s Mill Maryland’s McDonogh School, which has a good chance to reach the top 10, besting its 13-16 seed.

In Girl’s Division 1, Greenwich players are the favorites to win 26 of their 28 matches. A win would mark the team’s twelfth title since the competition started in 2005/

The #2 seed, Agnes Irwin School, is the favorite to make the final. But first they are likely to face Baldwin in the semi and that promises to be one of the most closely fought matches in the main draw of Girl’s Division 1. According to my computer simulation, all seven ladder spots should have near toss up matches, with Agnes Irwin very slight favorites at #2, #5 and #7.

Agnes Irwin has the best chance of the two teams at winning the final, but that is a long shot. My model says that Greenwich is a 16-1 favorite to win the top three ladder spots. But even if Agnes Irwin sweeps those spots, which can’t be ruled out, it would have to win at least a 5-1 upset at one of their bottom four positions.