There are 16 sports offered at Saint Ignatius High School. Unfortunately for Henry Frawley '20, squash isn't one of them.
That hasn't stopped Frawley from pursuing his dream of playing Division I squash and continuing his education at Fordham University.
Frawley recently committed to the prominent Jesuit university in the Bronx. It was a match made in heaven for the talented squash player.
"Fordham has the best program of any Catholic, Jesuit school. I always wanted to go to a Jesuit college," Frawley says. "It worked out for me. I was looking at Navy, John Carroll, and Holy Cross, but Fordham was my dream school."
So, how did Frawley get here?
His squash journey begins in Maryland. Henry was born in Baltimore, a hotbed for squash. The sport is huge on the East Coast, as courts abound and a large number of high schools and colleges field teams.
His family later moved to Northeast Ohio, an area with a lesser-known reputation for the sport. Henry began playing squash at age 8, entering his first tournament in 2010. The then-Gesu student soon became a phenom.
Squash is in Henry's blood in some ways. Henry's dad played the sport and was immediately hooked. The younger Frawley soon fell in love with the sport, too.
In the 10 years since, Frawley has earned a reputation as one of the best young players in the area. He's competed in over 73 tournaments – 58 junior events and 15 adult tourneys. His resume is impressive, winning eight tournaments and finishing in second or third in 14 more events. He's equally adept at singles or doubles, primarily practicing at the Cleveland Racquet Club.
Perhaps his top feat occurred in 2019. Frawley finished in second at the US Junior National Doubles tournament and third in the mixed doubles portion. The achievement cemented him as an elite player with the hardware to prove it.
Beyond his accomplishments on the court, Frawley has made a large impact off of it. Frawley has helped to grow the game in Ohio City and Northeast Ohio.
In the last few years, squash has gained traction locally, thanks in part to Urban Squash Cleveland and the opening of courts at Urban Community School. Frawley has been involved with the initiatives, volunteering his time to tutor and mentor UCS students in the game. Frawley even did his Sophomore Service with the program.
"I worked mostly with pre-K students, primarily in low-income families, during sophomore service and with grade school kids through my volunteer work for Urban Squash. I helped with squash training, but also with academic tutoring," Frawley says. "Some of the kids in the program, I've trained with and coached since they were little. The program changes lives. It's nice to see squash have an impact on people's lives."
Frawley looked to start a club at Saint Ignatius, but between his busy squash schedule, schoolwork, and volunteering, the venture was tough. He also played JV tennis and participated in intramural basketball, also juggling challenging coursework that included four years of Latin and two years of Greek. The Shaker Heights native was not able to launch a squash club, but still enjoyed his time at Wildcat High. His ambition may be realized soon, as squash is starting to grow in popularity and the courts at Urban Community School are now complete. The sport is one of the three fastest-growing activities in the U.S., increasing participation by 66% between 2010-2015 according to US Squash. Even still, Frawley has no regrets.
Just like every other sport, squash has not been immune to COVID-19, as tournaments have been canceled. Recruiting also took a hit, with colleges unable to see high schoolers play. Frawley's recruiting process took time, and he just made the decision to attend Fordham in mid-June.
Frawley knew right away that Fordham was the perfect match. Frawley toured the campus last year and fell in love with the school and the location. The coaching staff is also familiar and friendly, adding to the match.
His father is Jesuit educated and his mom works at John Carroll University as a Director of Major Gifts, so the school's Jesuit mission immediately appealed, as well. Frawley feels fortunate to be headed to continue his academic and athletic careers at the next level.
"I want to thank my mom, dad, and two sisters," Frawley says. "They always believed in me when I didn't, in life and squash. I'm also thankful for my two sisters. When you're not playing, squash tournaments can be boring, so it's nice to talk with and hang out with my sisters. I'm grateful for my family."
A star student in the classroom, Frawley is sure to succeed at Fordham. His major is undecided, but look for him to do great things in the Bronx, following the likes of Mike Watts '11 and Rustom Khouri III '12, joining Steve Zucca '20, too.
Best of luck, Henry!