The Santa Barbara School of Squash, a member of the National Urban Squash & Education Association, sent three of its top-ranked students to participate in the 2013 National Urban Junior Squash Championships on June 13-16.

Miguel Nava competed in the Boys’ Under 17 division, David Quintero competed in the Boys’ Under 15 division and Sebastian Paredes competed in the Boys’ Under 13 division.

The boys and SBSOS Squash Director Orla O’Doherty jumped on a plane from LAX to Boston on June 13 as they headed off to Williams College in Massachusetts for this prestigious event.

Nava was the No. 1 seed going into the tournament, while Quintero and Paredes were both seeded No. 3 in their age groups.

With more than 300 participants, the atmosphere was electric. All 13 NUSEA programs were represented at the tournament and was a testament to all the hard work these urban programs put into getting their students prepared.

After five grueling matches each at the tournament, both Nava and Paredes were victorious in their divisions and became National Urban Champions. Quintero finished in third place in his age group. That’s two national championships for Santa Barbara!

The Santa Barbara School of Squash is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit after-school program for low-income families in Santa Barbara. The sport of squash is used as a catalyst to get students engaged in academics, and participate in community service activities in the community that supports them.

The program has been operating for seven years and is based out of the Santa Barbara Athletic Club and the Westside Neighborhood Center. Participants in the program attend as many as five days a week learning to play squash, getting academic support from our volunteers, as well as engaging in community service and enrichment activities throughout the year. This year, we graduated our first senior who is attending the University of Oregon in the fall.

We are so proud of Miguel, David and Sebastian and their performances. The boys worked very hard leading up to this event, and it paid off as they brought home two national championships.

In May, the International Olympic Committee decided in favor of squash, wrestling and baseball/softball to be listed among the top three finalists of “new sports” that are being considered for the 2020 Olympic games. As a finalist, squash was selected from eight sports, and the final decision will be announced on Sept. 8.

To learn more about the Santa Barbara School of Squash or to volunteer, click here or contact Executive Director Debbie Brown at 805.570.9970 or

— Debbie Brown is executive director of the Santa Barbara School of Squash.