One-on-one with Matt Giegerich '19
Matt Giegerich ’19 first picked up a squash racquet at around 8-years-old, following in his brother Brian Giegerich ’18’s footsteps. Matt Giegerich never though he would become a college squash player, but this past year he was named Dartmouth men’s squash’s team Most Valuable Player for contributing to the squad’s historic season.
Now that you had a full year playing squash, did it live up to your expectations or surprise in any ways? Any challenges?
MG: It surprised me how close our team is. I think that was the biggest surprise. All the guys on our team got along really well. We often get team dinners and hang outside of practice. Some of the challenges are that it’s tough to play a sport in college. The academics area is really tough. Having a few hours a day we have to go practice makes it definitely tough to keep up with academics. But actually, I think it’s a little easier in season because you have to be conscientious of your classes and be aware of what’s going on.
MG: What’s the best part of having a college team alongside you?
Just really nice to have a group of guys you can hang out with on a regular basis. We see them during the season, we have practice 6 days a week, we often get meals together after practice — just hanging out. A group of friends you already have built in when you come to college definitely made the transition [from high school] easier.
What are your current goals for your college athletic career?
MG: Just having fun. At the end of the day, my goal is to look back at my years here and feel that the whole experience was worthwhile. It’s not just about finishing as best as we can, but it’s also important to make friends. I know a lot of other schools that practice more, and you have to go to practice really early in the morning and stuff like that, and maybe they get a spot or two higher in the final ranking. But is it worth it? That’s the question I ask myself.
Now that your freshman year is coming to an end, if you could redo this year would you do anything differently?
MG: I would probably say to make more of an effort at the beginning to know different people. When I first came in I was a little narrow minded. Squash and school work are the most important things, and I kind of left out some important social aspects because I felt pretty overwhelmed coming in. Now I think I’m doing a much better job of knowing different people and setting aside time to socialize and meet new people. So looking back, I wish I spent more time meeting new people. Squash-wise, maybe just being a little more accepting of different people in terms of how much they wanted to play or [that] what they would want to do for practice might be different from what I wanted to do for practice.
What’s one piece of advice you’d like to offer to an incoming athlete?
MG: I would probably say to make sure you have balance in your life. Academically, of course we’re up here first and foremost to get a great education and to learn as much as we can and to hear other people’s opinions — learn about their backgrounds and viewpoints — and athletically if you’re coming up here to play a sport, that’s going to be a part of your life. Socially, it’s important to meet new people and develop good friendships that will hopefully last a lifetime. I think those three things are important to keep in mind, making sure you have balance in those three areas.
What are your plans for squash after college?
MG: Some players have professional aspirations — I don’t. I just hopefully will be able to play when I’m older with friends or with other people who know how to play.
This article has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.