Clara Lehv ’20 has been named US Squash All-American, one of 22 athletes nationally to receive the honor. Clara led the 2019-2020 Sabers Squash Team to an impressive collection of three championship team titles: AAIS Regular Season Champion, AAIS Tournament Champion and NYSAIS Tournament Champion. The Senior Captain and #1 player since Grade 9, Clara also led the Saber squad in its first-ever US Squash Division I HS Team Nationals, ending the season ranked #10 in the nation.
According to Varsity Squash Coach Benjamin Oliner, “Clara is the winningest player in school history, and she has elevated the program and led to its unprecedented success.” “I couldn’t be more proud to hear that Clara will be receiving this honor. She modeled commitment, work ethic and dedication to Spence Squash for an incredibly young program where she was the only senior on the team and in which four of the starting seven players were freshman. She has set the bar high for anyone who follows her in the top spot on our ladder in the years to come.”
Clara reflects on her athletic experience at Spence with full appreciation of “learning how to be a leader.” “I was the only senior on the team so I had to find a balance between being friends with my teammates and being a captain. My favorite moment from this season was winning NYSAIS. We were the #2 seed but still managed to win the finals 6-1 against Poly Prep.”
Oliner shares that Clara was one of 12 deserving players from the NYC region, nominated by coaches from 10 different schools. “Only two players were selected, and she was voted in by the coaches from various institutions based upon her playing level, character, sportsmanship, and overall contributions to interscholastic squash nationally, and, more specifically, the growth of the NYC region,” Coach Oliner states.
“As captain, she really helped me in my transition to Spence Squash in my first season coaching the team,” Coach Oliner recalls about Clara’s senior year at Spence. “It was particularly sweet for me to see her achieve these successes; I will always remember her as a fifth-grade camper whom I had the opportunity to coach and introduce to the sport many summers ago!”
Athletic Director Coni Fichera applauded Clara’s contribution to the team when recapping this year’s season: “Clara has set a high standard for the youthful group of Sabers to follow, and they definitely took on the challenge! Up and down the roster, they left no doubt they will be a force to be reckoned with in the future. As the best teams do, Spence took lessons from their experiences, applied them and grew throughout the tournament. The Spence team exceeded all expectations with their first appearance in Division I and in doing so have inked their place in school history.”
Clara, who will continue her playing career at Colby College, has gained another place in Spence athletic history. She is the second Spence squash player in the School’s history to receive the All-American honor, joining Alexandra Koskosidis, recognized for her outstanding play for Spence during the 2013-2014 season.
Congratulations to Clara Lehv ’20, US Squash All-American.