An amazing first year in the USA for AJN sponsored, Emma Bartley, was capped off last week when she was named one of the 2023 winners at Drexel University’s annual awards evening in Philadelphia.

The 18-year-old squash sensation moved to Philadelphia in the summer of 2022 as part of a sports scholarship and criminology major at Drexel University.  Competing for the Drexel Dragons in the State and College Squash Championships, Emma was crowned Drexel’s ‘Most Improved Women’s Squash Player’ following a year of impressive individual and team performances.

A run of successful games, including 12 wins from 18 individual matches, helped the team to record an impressive 13 wins with just four losses over the course of the season.

Emma was also one of 12 players from the University’s men’s and women’s squash teams to be selected to compete at the College Squash Association (CSA) Individual Championships as well as helping the women’s team earn fifth place at the CSA Team Championships – the second highest placement ever for Drexel.

A tough game in February, which saw Emma battle back from 2-1 down to win her match, also helped the team win its second consecutive Gaynor Cup in the Mid-Atlantic Squash Conference Championship.

“My first year at Drexel has been amazing”, comments Emma. “A little daunting and overwhelming at first but the support from my coaches and teammates has been fantastic.”

“Winning ‘Most Improved Player’ was a great recognition of the hard work I’ve put in and I’m really excited to see where I can get to next year. All of this, of course, wouldn’t be possible without the encouragement from my family and the ongoing support from AJN Steelstock. Without them I wouldn’t be able to compete at the level I am and wouldn’t have had the opportunities that I’ve been able to be part of.”

At just 15 years old, Emma, who was selected to represent England at the 2022 ESF European Championships and Junior World Championships, became one of the youngest members of the Professional Squash Association (PSA) and is currently ranked 210 in the world.

Emma has also notched up an astonishing array of squash titles including ‘Under 19 Champion’ at the 2021 Suffolk Closed tournament, ‘East Regional Champion’ at Under 19, winner of the Eastern Region Squash Championship at every level from Under 11 to Under 19, and Under 11 National Champion.

She was also ranked Number One in the country in the Under 11 and Under 13 categories, Number Two in the Under 15 category and is currently ranked fifth nationally in the Under 19 grouping.

Alan Boyden, AJN Steelstock’s Joint Managing Director, comments, “We’re incredibly proud of Emma and everything she has achieved; especially over the past 12 months.

“Jumping on a plane to continue her studies and squash career on the other side of the Atlantic was an incredibly brave decision. To do it, and to do it so well in her first year, shows exactly what you can achieve with the right commitment and hard work.

“AJN has been supporting Emma for a number of years now and to see what she’s achieved and been part of during that time is amazing. She really is an inspiration to anyone that sets out to achieve their goals.”

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