Penn men's squash is a serious national championship contender — in large part due to the phenomenal play of junior standout Andrew Douglas.
In two seasons at Penn, Douglas has led the Quakers to a No. 3 ranking in the College Squash Association. As a result, the junior was named first team All-Ivy and first team All-American both years. With two seasons left, Douglas will look to add a national championship to his long list of accomplishments during his time at Penn.
Introduced to squash at the age of six, Douglas didn’t finding his footing in the sport until the beginning of high school. But by the end of his time at the Packer Collegiate Institute, Douglas was a highly decorated squash player — a three-time All-American, 2016 US Junior Open champion, 2016 Pan American Games junior champion, two-time junior national champion, quarterfinalist at the World Junior Championships, and finalist at US Senior Nationals.
After receiving offers from countless schools — Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and Penn to name a few — Douglas ultimately decided to play for the Quakers in large part due to coach Gilly Lane.
“I think the big thing for me was the fact that I really liked Gilly Lane. I knew Gilly would put me first and make sure that I had whatever I needed to be successful,” Douglas said. “I also really liked the guys who were on the team. I thought that they would make my college experience more enjoyable. The decision to play at Penn really came down to the people.”
Douglas played his entire freshman season at the team’s No. 1 slot, leading the group to its best start since 1985. And by the end of the season, the standout went 14-4 and became the second freshman at Penn to have been awarded first team All-Ivy and first team All-American.
“Even though I had a really good season on paper, I really struggled during freshman year," Douglas said. “I was coming off of my junior career, and I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do with squash. I wasn’t sure if I wanted squash to be my life or just part of my life."
That doubt is no longer around.
During a somehow more impressive sophomore campaign, Douglas led the Quakers to their first-ever CSA No. 1 ranking and their best finish at the Potter Cup. He was once again named first team All-Ivy, first team All-American, and Academic All-Ivy. And in the summer, Douglas played in the XVIII Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, where the junior was the only college undergraduate on Team USA’s title-winning squad.
“It was the best squash experience of my life, just being in that atmosphere with those world-class athletes," Douglas said. “We won a gold medal, which we were not expecting — we had never even made it to a final before — and I ended up being the deciding match. It was a great feeling to see all the hard work paying off."
Entering the new season, Douglas hopes to add to his long list of accolades. Of course, the junior will look to compete for an individual national championship, but Douglas is much more focused on a team championship. With a very talented squad this year, Douglas believes that the team has what it takes to bring home the Potter Cup for the first time in school history.
When it’s all said and done, Douglas will be one of the most decorated squash players to have ever competed at Penn. When that time comes, Douglas, who is currently ranked 109th in the world by the Professional Squash Association, hopes to play professionally after Penn.
“I plan on going pro after college. I don’t think anyone gets into squash for money, fame, or anything like that," Douglas said. “If I’m expecting that, I’m certainly going to be disappointed. I expect it to bring me a lot of satisfaction, and there’s nothing like getting better. There’s something really rewarding about tangibly getting better. That’s where I have found the most joy playing squash."