Darien High senior squash team captain Harrison Gill is not a typical teen, as seen by the people who know him best.
His success both on and off the squash court can be attributed to many smart decisions, and winning qualities. The FCIAC Scholar-Athlete, Yale-bound squash powerhouse Gill is the whole package in a scholastic athlete.
The youngest of five children, also including standout athletes at Darien, Gill began playing squash at the age of seven, with the tremendous support and camaraderie (and competition!) of his family, all gifted and enthusiastic squash players themselves.
He played regularly and soon became a force to be reckoned with, by winning a U13 National Championship at age 12. Gill’s trajectory rapidly progressed to bring him where he is today, competing on a national and international stage.
Gill trains and plays year round, and has a few important rituals that he feels crucial to his overall success.
Extensive pre-hydration, a thorough mental check list including, visuals, strategy implementation, and positive mindset allow him to execute physically on the court, once all the mental check list items are out of the way.
“I don’t focus on the other player, I focus on strategy implementation, and play with no fear,” said Gill.
What advice would Gill give to young squash players?
“You have to play as much as you can,” he said, referencing Outliers author Malcom Gladwell’s theory of consistent practice and extensive exposure.
He also attributes success to his work with coach Kumail Mehmood, with whom he has worked for 10 years, as an integral component of his success.
Gill contends that squash has evolved greatly, even in his short time, with children beginning at a far younger age, in addition to overall increased interest and awareness of the sport. College recruitment for squash players has increased dramatically as well.
“I love playing for DHS,” said Gill, who stresses the importance of academics, of etiquette and good sportsmanship. “Coach (Patrick) Wind coaches with a steady hand, and is excellent at meeting the needs of the varying levels of the boys on the team. He has honored my schedule and always has great advice.”
“(He is) a great mentor to players of all levels, who truly embodies all the characteristics of a great captain,” said Wind. “He has captained our team for three years. He is a selfless player who happily cheers and coaches his teammates with infectious enthusiasm. He has humility, and is respected by all. It has been a genuine privilege to coach Harrison and I will greatly miss him next year.”
Gill went undefeated all season for the Wave.
Added Wind: “His diligent work ethic, and smart, consistent, preparation in all spheres of his life have converged in a winning way. He is warmly engaging and has a great sense of humor. Keep your eyes out for much Gill power ahead.”