By Morissa Lindsay
Barbados’ multi-talented athlete Alex Stewart has made a reputation for himself in each squash and tennis at St George’s School situated in Rhode Island after completing his first 12 months on the institution.
The talented 16-year-old who represents the Barbados Squash Association and the Barbados Tennis Association and refers to himself because the Dragon for the competitive fire he brings to each disciplines, said he has adjusted well at St. George’s School. He was also recognized for his efforts as certainly one of their leading players in squash and tennis.
It has been a memorable 12 months for the right-handed player whose name was among the many list of players that received honourable mention for the Independent School League (ISL) and New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) for squash.
“My labor and determination continued to reap success as I used to be also awarded All ISL and most recently All ISL League for Tennis. My school recently held a sports award ceremony and I won the York Tennis Award,” Stewart said proudly.
A former student of the St. Michael School, Stewart left last 12 months to pursue his dream of being a student-athlete in North America and shared with Barbados TODAY a comprehensive review of what his experiences have been like.
“The transition to the new school environment took some adjusting but with the support of St George’s School staff, family and peers, I used to be in a position to adjust and deal with my journey. I’m still attempting to adjust to the food. That is my biggest challenge. Now we have Chapel twice per week which I like and each night now we have a quiet period for 2 which allows us to review, and complete assignments and homework.
“Then there may be lights out. You even should check in each night by 7:45 and if you’ve gotten to depart campus before that point you’ve gotten to get approval out of your parents and Student Life Office and your advisor. In case you miss commitments you receive infractions that are penalties. After all, you should remember to sign back in in your return. A lot of structure!
“With squash being a winter sport the primary semester, my focus was on strength and conditioning while doing a little light training for squash every day for 2 hours. Just a few weeks into the semester my squash coach left to take up an assistant coach job at Yale University. While it was an emotional period for me, I used to be completely satisfied he got the chance. The team remained focused and trained hard for the upcoming season under coach Piller,” Stewart told Barbados TODAY.
He added: “We trained each day for 2 hours and I played primary and got here up against a few of the very best squash players. My season record was 8/4. The team lost within the finals of the New England Squash Championship but I enjoyed the experience and the harmony and the never-say-die attitude of my teammates. Spring season would quickly follow with tennis where I played primary in doubles and number three in singles.
“Coach Joe Lang and the team have such an in depth bond and his coaching style at all times made us feel relaxed and assured. This environment saw our team pull off some great wins with a successful season and a number of improvement amongst the players. My record for the season was 14/1 for singles and 10/5 for doubles. Our harmony was great on and off the court and we believed in one another and in our coach’s guidance.
“In my first 12 months, I needed to do a number of balancing as I’m also a part of the School
Music Ensemble which I actually enjoyed. Unfortunately, a few of my away matches took me away from attending a number of the practice sessions, but hopefully, the upcoming 12 months allows me more availability to enjoy certainly one of my loves.”
Coach Lang gave some insights into the 2 awards Stewart won for tennis at the tip of spring. “So, as you’re aware, he won two awards for squash for winter. Now he has exceeded that for tennis by being awarded MVP (York Award) and all ISL League. So the ISL All-League Award Alex won is predicated solely on merit, for instance, a degree system. He was certainly one of 13 boys within the league of 16 teams that were honoured. We play a six-match singles format (so there are a number of players playing!) and the awards are based on singles performances.
“He was the one player that played on the number three position only losing one match (and he played number two for his last 4 matches, which those points actually put him excessive) to receive the award. So far as the York Tennis Award, it’s awarded to the MVP of our team; the player that performs best on-court.”
The six-footer who recently returned to the island from Guyana where he represented Barbados within the Caribbean Area Squash Association competition and narrowly missed out on a podium finish said he continues to be pleased about the chance given and is looking forward to a renewed focus for the 2022-2023 academic 12 months.
He also had words of encouragement for other young individuals which have an interest in playing sports. “For young person’s excited about playing sports there are a number of opportunities on the market which you may profit from while excelling in academics and sport. One just should imagine in oneself and be willing to place within the labor to see great results. My mom at all times jogs my memory that I’m my only competition,” he said.
With respec to what the long run holds for Stewart academically and athletically, he explained: “So what lies ahead for the upcoming academic 12 months for the young Dragon? It’s all about balancing my academics and athletics and music schedule together with still having a social life. Time management is essential to see continued success. Academically I would like to proceed to strive for A’s.
“Athletically, I would like to reap much more success through continued labor and the continued support and guidance from my family, coaches, teachers and peers. Also, I would like to proceed to place my school on the market as one to reckon with in sports and one which produces well-rounded students. But most of all I would like to have the opportunity to be involved in my school community a bit more and to help other students with addressing mental health and the student- athlete journey.”