A junior at The Haverford School, Drew Glaser was unbeaten playing No. 1 on the Fords squash team this season, apart from one match in the championship finals of the 2023 U.S. High School Squash Nationals, where he lost to the No. 1 high school player in the United States. With Glaser leading the way, the Fords finished second at the Nationals tourney, competing in a field of 102 teams. He recently finished third in the Houston JCT, with all of the best players in United States high school squash competing. “Andrew is without a doubt one of the top players to have ever played squash in Haverford’s storied tradition,” said Haverford School squash head coach Alex Stait. “He also is widely known for his fair play on the court and the best sportsmanship of one of the top players in the country. Andrew struggled this season with a back injury which stopped him representing Team USA in the British Junior Open but is now back fully fit and hoping to qualify and represent Team USA in the world championship this summer in Australia.” Outside of the squash court at Haverford School, Glaser is a member of the school’s Honor Council, varsity lacrosse team and Peer Counseling.
Q: What is your favorite memory/experience at U.S. High School Nationals?
A: My favorite memory this year was on Saturday night when all of my friends and many kids came down to the city (Philadelphia) to watch us play. It was an extremely close match and ended up coming down to the last match. We ended up winning and I’ve never seen a crowd more fired up and hyped for a squash match. It was an amazing experience to see all of my friends supporting me and the team and it was definitely one of my favorite memories of all time.
Q: What do you think was your best match of this high school winter season, and what was the key(s) to your success that day?
A: I think my best match this season was playing at Brunswick this year. Because of the turnout we had at our home match against Brunswick, they brought a massive amount of people. Our No. 2 had lost the first match and the crowd was juiced up. I needed a win for us not only to silence the crowd, but to swing the momentum our way. I was extremely nervous going into the match and when I was out there I faced chirps and a little bit of trash talking from the crowd. I was able to keep a level head and was able to win pretty easily. I think the main key to my success was calming myself down before the match. I went to a quiet space and was able to focus on my game plan and not think about the crowd or any other factors.
Q: You struggled this season with a back injury which kept you from representing Team USA in the British Junior Open but are now back fully fit and hoping to qualify and represent Team USA in the world championship this summer in Australia. Tell us a little about the biggest challenge (if any) the back injury and/or your rehab presented, and how you dealt with that challenge.
A: The hardest part about my back injury was the mental effect it had on me. I would have some weeks where I felt like I was getting better, then I would have a brutal couple days where I could barely walk. I tried to push myself through the injury through multiple tournaments and all of them ended in me barely being able to move. It’s always hard to be injured and see your competitors playing all the time while you feel seemingly useless; but in the end my rest and rehab has paid off. I feel great now and more confident in my body than ever before.
Q: What do you think is the strongest part of your game?
A: I think the strongest part of my game would have to be my ability to control the ball and my opponent. I’ve always been quite good at moving the ball around the court and making my opponent do much more work than I am doing.
Q: What part of your game have you worked on the most recently?
A: I think recently my main focus of improvement has been my fitness and my ability to win close games and matches. I’ve always relied on my skills to win matches and now I’ve realized I also need to be fitter than my opponents and mentally tougher. In the past couple months I have gotten much stronger and fitter and my mental toughness has improved a lot as well.
Q: Tell us a little about your start in squash – what originally attracted you to squash?
A: I started squash when I was 5 and ever since I picked up the racquet I loved the sport. My older brother was the first one in my family to play and my sister followed his path, and so did I. I still have faint memories of myself watching my brother and sister play in tournaments when I was too young to play as well. The sport fascinated me and I would watch hours upon hours of squash, getting on any open court when they appeared and messing around. Squash had always been an escape from everything else, and just a place I could do what I love without thinking about what’s going on in the real world. To this day the sound of the ball smashing against the front wall when I play by myself soothes and calms me. The court has truly turned into my second home.
Q: Who have been your top squash mentors, and what was the most important thing you learned from each of them?
A: Throughout the years my main mentor has been my coach, Alex Stait. He has coached me for now for more than 11 years and much of my success is due to him. He has shown me how to be respectful on court, while also showing off and having flair. Another very important mentor in my life has been another coach, Scott Devoy. He was my first coach and has been by my side since I was 5. Like Alex he’s taught me more things than I could count and I’m extremely grateful for him. Lastly, my siblings have always been there for me and I’ve looked up and learned so much from them. Because they were both top Division I players as well, it was always great to be able to hit with them and I don’t think I would be nearly the same player if I didn’t have them.
Q: Tell us a little about your pre-match preparation the day of a match.
A: My pre-match preparation is usually the same before every match. If it’s a morning match for example I’ll have a lighter breakfast and get the venue a little over an hour before my starting time. I’ll hit on a court for a little bit first, then I’ll find a quiet space to stretch and do my physical exercises. Then I’ll go through my warmup. My routine stays practically the same unless I’m especially tired, awake, sore, etc.
Q: You’ve played at some of the best squash facilities around the world, from Bolivia to Europe to Egypt. What is your favorite squash venue, and why?
A: Out of all the venues I’ve played in, I like my home courts the best, at Merion Cricket Club. I think the facilities are great, but most importantly I just feel more comfortable and at home than anywhere else.
Q: Who is your favorite squash player(s) and why? Do you try to pattern your game after any particular player?
A: I think my favorite squash player would be Ali Farag. I just love watching him play and he moves so effortlessly and plays with such fluidity. It’s amazing watching him play, and I think my game style matches him the most.
Fun facts – Drew Glaser
Favorite book: Eleanor and Park.
Favorite author: Dr. Seuss.
Favorite TV show: Entourage.
Favorite movie: Animal House.
Favorite athlete: Michael Phelps.
Favorite pre-match pump-up song: Levels.
Favorite team: Philadelphia Eagles.
Favorite academic courses at Haverford: Calculus, biology.
Favorite place to visit: Avalon, N.J.
Favorite pre-match meal: Banana.
Person I most admire, and why: “My Mom, a very inspirational person. She’s extremely hard working and there’s no one I look up to more than her.”
Siblings: older sister Katherine, older brother William, dog Callie.
(To be selected as Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by his coach.)