This weekend is the last hurrah for Penn squash’s 2017-18 season.
Eleven Quakers — six women and five men — will travel to Washington, D.C. to participate in the College Squash Association Individual Championships and play for the prestigious distinction of being an All-American.
On the women’s side, junior Reeham Sedky, senior Melissa Alves, senior Marie Stephan, freshman Haley Scott, sophomore Lindsay Stanley, and freshman Julia Buchholz will represent the Red and Blue. Making the trip on the men’s side will be freshman Andrew Douglas, senior Hayes Murphy, sophomore David Yacobucci, freshman Yash Bhargava, and senior James Watson.
At the CSA Championships, the athletes will be placed into two divisions, A and B. The top 10 of 16 in Division A will be named first team All-Americans, while the other six from Division A and the top four finishers in the Division B brackets will be second-team All-Americans.
For some, this will be a valuable learning experience against elite competition. For others, this tournament is a chance to assert their dominance in the world of collegiate squash.
Although it was a tough season for women’s squash, many of the individuals who will be competing in Washington are looking to make serious waves.
Sedky — the two-time Ivy League Player of the Year who dropped zero matches and only a total of one game all season, and hasn’t lost a league match in more than two — has a chip on her shoulder going into this weekend.
In her freshman year, Sedky fell in four games to Trinity College’s then-junior Kanzy El Defrawy in the final. In her sophomore year, she was again defeated in the final in four games, this time to Harvard’s Gina Kennedy.
This year, she is primed to reverse her fortunes.
“[Reeham’s] put in a lot of extra time, she’s had a lot of hard matches, and she’s sought out outside competition and has continued to push herself,” coach Jack Wyant said. “Her preparation this year has been fantastic.”
If both Sedky and Alves win their first-round draws, they would then meet each other in the second round.
Regardless of who comes out on top, Wyant will be “rooting hard for one of those two to go on and win it.”
The breakout star on the men’s side has been Andrew Douglas, who in his very first year of collegiate squash has built up an impressive resume. He went 14-4 as the team's No. 1 in league matches this season and is looking to get more than a strong learning experience out of his trip to Washington, D.C. Douglas goes into the tournament seeded fourth in Division A.
Coach Gilly Lane has the utmost confidence that despite his youth, Douglas will contend.
“He’s prepared well, he’s put the time in, he’s led by example this year, and we’re excited for him to play amongst the elite and show why he’s one of the best players,” Lane said.
This weekend is the Quakers’ last chance to make a statement in the collegiate squash world this season. With athletes on both the men’s and women’s team primed for championship runs, and much of the competition taking place in a facility built by Penn squash parents, the stage couldn’t be set much better.