KATIE KERRIGAN — The Denison men’s and women’s squash teams are an up and coming club team, started years ago and has been growing ever since.
This past weekend they traveled to Haverford College in Philadelphia for a tournament with Bucknell and Haverford This tournament marked the first time in history the Men’s and Women’s teams have been introduced together at the same time.
Haverford, being a Division 1 team did triumph against the Big Red, but it was a close battle. Bucknell, a club team, also topped the Big Red, leaving the weekend in second place.
Although this tournament did not go in favor for the the Big Red, Senior Alvaro Magana defeated his opponent in his match against Bucknell.
These types of tournaments are quite difficult because nine people on each team will play in a ladder system, meaning that the top player on each team plays each other, then the second best players, and so on. For Denison, the top men’s players are Abdallah Bekhiet ‘22 and Alvaro Magana ‘19. For the women’s team, Freshman Maddie Kaufman ranks number one. The team is getting bigger every year, which is a sign towards their varsity status being given very soon, and with their new coach, Pam Anckermann, they are getting advanced training.
Four-year-player Ellie Blue ‘19 anticipates that the program will become a varsity team within the next two to three years.
2019 is the first year they will be attending Nationals, which will be at Trinity College in Connecticut.
This tournament will involve over 50 teams from around the country competing for the coveted “National Champion Title.” The most interesting part about this tournament (and the other smaller tournaments that Denison competes in) is that they involve both D1 teams, D3 teams, and club teams. This means that each tournament has such a wide variety of skills and competition levels, which is challenging, but it also means more opportunity to improve and learn new skills for the teams looking to climb the ranks just like Denison Squash.
Since it is a single player sport, it is a very mental game, especially when playing against Division 1 varsity programs.
Blue, says that “everyone on the team is super dedicated and focused on developing the program, which makes it super fun.” As a senior, Ellie is sad that this is her last season with the program but she is excited to see how it will continue to grow and she anticipates positive things for its future.
Keep your eyes out for updates on Big Red’s performance at nationals!