Men's squash team kicks off winter season with optimism
The Big green men's squash team inaugurates its season this weekend as the Big Green host Brown University on Sunday at the Berry Sports Center. With much of it still intact, the team is looking to establish themselves as a force in the Ivy League.
Banking on their great depth and potential, finishing towards the top of the ranks is well within the reach of the Big Green.
"The opportunity is there for us to finish in the top," Coach Chris Brownell '87 said.
Leading the Green into a potentially ground-breaking year, are co-Captains Russell Echlov '97 and Jon Gabel '98. For most of their Dartmouth careers, both players have not fallen outside the top four on the team and are now veterans of the college circuit. Their experience and great work ethic will definitely benefit the team and help mature the incoming recruits.
Playing atop the ladder is freshman powerhouse Beau River '00. Hailing from Chicago, Ill., the highly touted newcomer brings with him a tremendous game. A seasoned tournament player, River spent last year competing in England and training with famous coach David Pearson, the English National coach. Already River has put up some impressive numbers, dismantling both Brown's and Yale's number one players, and then upsetting Cornell's top gun.
"[He] plays terrific," Brownell said. "[I'm] looking for him to win big."
Coupled with River, Echlov and Gabel make up a very tough top ladder. "The top of the line is as good there has been at Dartmouth," Brownell said.
But individual wins at the top don't give team wins alone. The middle and lower half of the ladder has to also pull in the games, and that's where the Big Green has their strength. Rounding out the ladder, Ranjit Ahluwalia '97, Ross Hallock '97, juniors Zach Segal and Bill Tarr , Will Leicht '99, Tucker Richmond '99 and freshman Ryan Evans will bring in the points to put the Big Green over the top.
"We've got great depth," Brownell said. "Anyone can win, [and] everyone will contribute."
The great strides in Big Green improvement has come from a hardworking, tenacious squad.
"We're probably one of the most condition/disciplined teams out there," Brownell said. At each practice, the team looks to redefine their limits and take their games to the next level.
"The work ethic seems much stronger," Echlov said, "and everyone is a lot more positive."
The much improved Green has already demonstrated their skill as they headed down to Ivy Scrimmages two weekends ago. In a traditionally close match-up, the Dartmouth/Brown contest was anything but traditional. The men easily dropped Brown behind, beating the Bears 6-3, where the three losses could have just as well fell in favor of the Big Green.
The Green was tripped up against a strong Yale group, 5-4. However, considering that Yale usually trounces Dartmouth, the close loss was an indicator of a stronger team.
On the cusp of a new season, optimism is running high in the Big Green squash camp, and rightfully so. Not only do they have strong, new talent and improved overall games, men's squash has the determination to rise to the top. It's a new season, and a new team.
"We're a really strong squad this year," River said, "and we know what we have to do [to win]."