Oak Knoll Junior Earns National Squash Scholar Award

Alysa ali earns national scholar athlete of the year awardOak Knoll School junior and longtime squash enthusiast Alysa Ali ’22 of Watchung, recently earned the 2019-2020 US Squash Scholar Athlete Award from US Squash, the only national governing body and membership organization for the sport in the United States.

Ali was one of just 391 high school squash scholar athletes to earn the recognition. In order to be eligible for the accolade, high school students must earn a 3.5 or higher GPA at the end of the school year and have played in three US Squash accredited singles tournaments, or an approved number of US Squash Scholastic Squash Program (SSP) matches between September 1, 2019 and May 31, 2020.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Ali participated in one gold and one Junior Championship Tournament (JCT) every month. The JCTs are only open to squash players who are ranked in the top 32. Last year, Ali was the 19th nationally ranked squash player in the United States.

“Squash is a wonderful sport and has taught me multiple lessons,” said Ali, who began playing squash at the age of eight.

“This sport taught me how to interact with people of many different ages and with people who have different perspectives than me. It also taught me determination and how I should never give up.”

Ali said she is thankful to her parents, coaches, and friends for helping her to succeed.

“This Scholar Athlete Award means a lot to me because it represents all my hard work in both my academics and in my sport of squash,” she said.

The US Squash Scholar Athlete Award program was established in 2006 and since has shown significant growth with 47 awards granted in its first year with an increase this year of more than 100 scholar athletes from last year’s class of 289.

Also, this year, 202 recipients earned the award for the first time and 26 student athletes earned the recognition all four years of their high school careers.

Way to go, Alysa!

Bella Henry serves as co-chair on overlook hospital junior board