Caribbean Under-15 and National Junior Squash Champion Shomari Wiltshire recently ventured to the USA and played in two tournaments. Tournaments in the USA are ranked as follow: Junior Championships (JCT), followed by Gold, Silver and finally Bronze. Points are gained from participating in each of the tournaments with the highest points being received from playing in the JCT, then the Gold, the Silver and finally the Bronze tournaments.
The first weekend he participated in the Berwyn Summer Silver in Pennsylvania. This tournament was used as a warm-up for the following weekend and as it was a silver tournament, he was entered into the Boys’ Under-17 category and not the Boys’ Under 15. He won his first match, beating Atreyus Bhavsar 11-9, 11-7, 11-1, but then lost to Nolan Gelinas 10-12, 3-11, 13-11, 6-11 in the second round.
This loss resulted in him going into the consolation tournament where he then beat Sean Roundtree in his first match 11-2, 11-4, 11-6. In the next round, he defeated John Gunton 11-1, 11-4, 11- 3 and then in the semi-finals, he defeated Matthew Wang 11- 6, 11- 2, 11- 2. However, in the final of the consolation draw, he lost to Neil Bam in straight games 9-11, 4-11, 8-11.
The Finger Lakes Gold was held in Clinton, New York at the Hamilton College. This was a gold tournament, but because Wiltshire has no US ranking, he was unseeded in the Under-15 division. Only the top 32 ranked players who have signed up for the tournament are automatically placed in the draw, so Wiltshire was initially waitlisted but eventually four players withdrew and he was placed in the draw.
In the first round, he defeated John Zhang 11-7, 11- 4, 11-4, then beat Erik Wang 4- 11, 11-2, 11- 9, 11-5 in the second round to set up a clash with the 3/4 seed Nathan Feinstein in the quarter-finals. In that match, he beat Feinstein in straight games 11-8, 11-8, 11-3 and then took care of the No 2 seed Winston Park 11-8, 11-3, 11-5 in the semi-finals.
In the final, he came up against No 3/4 seed Rana Thakkar, who had upset the No 1 seed in his semi-final match. Thakkar won a close first game 11-8, but Wiltshire bounced back to take the second game 11-6. In the third game, Thakkar came out like a boy possessed and completely destroyed Wiltshire winning 11-2.
The fourth game went back and forth, with Thakkar having three match balls, but he just could not close out the match, with Wiltshire really digging deep to eventually prevail in the fourth game 16- 14. The fifth game was also a see-saw battle which was close throughout, but eventually Wiltshire would prevail on his first match ball to take the game 11-9 and the match three games to two to win his first US tournament.