Men's, women's squash gear up for Snowflake tourney
The athletes involved will represent a vast array of skill levels, with 87 registrants ranging from local amateurs to college players from the likes of Smith, Wesleyan and Middlebury. As usual, there will be a large contingent of contestants from the Upper Valley to keep the Big Green on its toes.
"At least during my time, it has been used as a training vehicle for our men's and women's teams," said coach John Power, who has headed the program for the last eight years. "It is always our first taste of competition in the new year and leads us nicely into the main portion of our competitive season. With tough matches coming up against Williams next Wednesday, this weekend should prove to be an excellent preparation."
The men's team, which is currently ranked eighth in the country, should already be prepared after returning from an intense ten-day training session which saw the Big Green travel across the scenic French countryside.
The men confronted enormously talented French opponents, with Dartmouth's No. 1 player Andrew Boumford defeating the No. 27-ranked French player Wagar Khan in a tte--tte of tremendous proportions. "We enjoyed fine wine, fine cheese, fine squash," said Eben "Bambi" Clattenburg '09, the team's No. 7-ranked competitor.
The members of the women's team, the No. 5 club in the United States, also had an eventful winter break, as they traversed Canada with assistant coach David Heath, spending most of their time engaged in squash matches in Montreal.
The Big Green women are led by the team's captain and co-No. 1 Julia Drury '06, who shares the top spot with Ashley Malenchak '08. The Lady Green finished the fall campaign with a respectable 2-2 record, suffering defeats at the hands of the Navy Junior Men's team as well as their No. 2-ranked Ivy League rival Harvard.
The Big Green women have a tough winter schedule ahead, including a trip to New Haven, Conn. to face the defending national champion and No. 1-tagged Bulldogs of Yale.
After resounding victories over Navy and Tufts, among others, the men's team starts its winter schedule at an impressive 4-1 mark, with its only loss coming to perennial Ivy powerhouse Harvard. Clattenburg looks ahead to the Cornell match on Jan. 28 as a big opportunity for the Big Green.
"The Williams match [on Jan. 11] is important, but if we could come together and beat the Big Red it would be huge for our team," said the freshman. "If we all play hard, they're certainly a beatable team."
Hopefully, the final tally will prove Clattenburg correct on Jan. 28.