As coach of Westover School’s Varsity Squash team, Kate Wymard brings to the team her experience as a former captain of Trinity College’s nationally ranked women’s squash team.
Kate graduated from Trinity last year, when her team finished their season ranked third nationally. She had been recruited to play for Trinity’s program while a high school player from the Philadelphia area. “Playing squash at Trinity was a great experience,” Kate said. “I improved a lot while I was there. It was amazing playing on a team that had top players from all over the world. The team really came together, especially during my senior year.” Kate notes that the competitive squash world in college is a small one, so she is in touch with a number of players still competing on the college level. Going back to Trinity, she added, “is like going home to see my sisters.”
As much as she loves the sport now, Kate’s initial experience with squash was less than encouraging. “I was a tennis player growing up in the Philadelphia area. When I was 10 or 11 a girl I went to school with said I should try squash. There was a clinic at a local club and so I went.” As it turned out, Kate was the only girl in the clinic and, she recalled, that first day’s experience “was awful. I cried.” She went home determined not to continue with the lessons, but her parents urged her to try again. Kate did and soon started feeling more confidence in her developing skills.
“It helped that I had good eye/hand coordination,” Kate said, “but it wasn’t until high school that I became a decent squash player.” Her high school squash team was a strong one during her freshman and sophomore years and she learned a lot from her teammates. “My junior year I was the only returning varsity player so I jumped to the number one position.”
Reflecting on Westover’s Squash program in her first year as coach, Kate noted that the team has been challenged by the fact that most of the varsity players from last year’s team graduated in June. “Even though this is a building year, she said, “the girls are working really hard. Spirits are still high and they are showing a lot of improvement. They have really bonded as a team as the season has progressed. As a coach, that’s encouraging.” Even when students have not won their matches, Kate said, they have played competitively, losing by close scores.
One disappointment for the team was the cancellation of the Squash Nationals competition during the weekend of February 8th – 10th because of the blizzard. However, the team still hopes to do well in Division B competition at the upcoming New England tournament.
“Most of the players on the team have the potential to play squash in college,” Kate said. Phoebe Carlisle – who is co-captain of the team with Jocelyn Mackenzie – has been recruited to play by Hobart and William Smith Colleges. “The girls are really lucky to play at a school like this, which has such a focus on academics, but which gives them opportunities to play squash,” she said.
Kate graduated from Trinity in 2012 with a B.A. in Fine Arts. In addition to coaching Varsity Squash, Soccer, and Tennis, she teaches Art History and works in Westover’s Marketing and Communications Office.
Westover is a selective boarding and day school in grades 9-12 with 205 students from 16 states and 17 countries. The School offers its students more than 20 Advanced Placement courses as well as signature programs in science, engineering, art history, and music.