Opening Ceremonies of Pan American Squash Championships Welcome Athletes to Trinity

Competition Continues Through Saturday, September 24, at George A. Kellner Squash Center

​Hartford, Connecticut, September 19, 2016 – The 24th Pan American Squash Championships officially kicked off on Sunday evening, September 18, as the opening ceremonies were held inside of Trinity College’s Oosting Gymnasium in front of an energized crowd of family, friends, coaches, and a few boisterous Bantam sports teams. More than 100 of the region's top professional players from 12 countries are competing in the 2016 Pan American Championships, also referred to as the Pan American Federation Cup. This year marks the first time the event is being held in the United States.

On Sunday, the games officially began as countries from all over the Americas proceeded into the gym on Trinity's campus with each country's national anthem and flag accompanying them. Leading each country through the procession was a member of Capitol Squash, an organization that caters to young squash players in the greater Hartford area. A number of former Trinity student-athletes who are competing for their home countries took part in the ceremony, including current men's squash assistant coach Chris Binnie ’12 (Jamaica), 2016 men's squash captain Juan Vargas ’16 (Colombia), Nku Patrick ’19 (Jamaica), former women's squash stars Catalina Pelaez ’14 (Colombia), Nayelly Hernandez ’10 (Mexico), Andrea Echeverria ’12 (El Salvador), Pamela Larromana ’12 (El Salvador) and Fernanda Rocha ’07 (Argentina), and current Bantam women's squash senior Alexia Echeverria ’17 (El Salvador).

Each team received a large ovation from the crowd as their country was announced, thanks in large part to the numerous Bantam sports teams that came to cheer on and support the participating teams. Among the teams in attendance were the Trinity wrestling team, the men's soccer team, both squash teams, and the football team - some still in shoulder pads from practice - who made their presence known by cheering loudly as each team walked across the gym. As was expected, the Trinity squash players participating in the games received louder ovations than normal, highlighted by the thunderous "USA" chants that broke out when the home country was announced, led by men's squash head coach Paul Assaiante.

After the countries were all welcomed, Frederico Serna, the president of the Pan American Federation, spoke about the games before passing the microphone to US Squash President Peter Lasusa, Trinity College President Joanne Berger-Sweeney, and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, each of whom welcomed the players to Hartford and to the campus of Trinity, before declaring the official start of the 2016 Pan American Squash Championships.

The event runs through Saturday, September 24. Click here for more information. 

Written by Carson Kenney    

Photos by John Atashian. To view the Flickr set of photos from which this slide show was generated, please click here​.