November 19, 2003

Courting National Prominence

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With practice schedules in full swing and winter quickly approaching, the squash teams are excited about the opportunities they have to improve upon their national standings — yet they will have to do so while competing in the highly competitive Ivy League.

Two weeks ago, the men’s squad opened its season at the Ivy

Scrimmages. Despite crushing Brown 7-2, the Red dropped several key matches to Yale and Dartmouth, eventually falling to both teams by scores of 8-1 and 5-4, respectively.

This year’s young squad looks to rely on the leadership of its sole upperclassman, senior Geoff Fong, and to build upon the successes of sophomore standouts Matt Serediak, Ben Stokes, and Ben Bernstein.

Bernstein reached the finals last year in the “B” division of the College Squash Association Individual Championships. After leading the team to a fifth-place national finish, Serediak was named first-team All-Ivy and second-team All-America. He finished 12th in the individual rankings following what some have called one of the best freshman performances all-time at Cornell.

While the losses of Jeff Porter ’03, Tim Nagel ’03, and Kenny Grier ’03 will be detrimental, the additions of newcomers Rohit Gupta, Nick Raho, and Teddy Hill, will provide the spark that the Red needs to retain its established level of excellence.

“After training all summer with Canadian professionals, I am confident we will finish in the top five once again,” said Serediak. “While it was a disappointment to graduate such terrific athletes last year, our biggest surprises should be the play of Teddy Hill and Rohit Gupta. I look forward to us retaining if not improving upon our fifth in the nation status.”

Yet Serediak and the team may not have to wait for Hill and Gupta to surprise them. It’s already happened, as the duo tore through their competition at the Ivy scrimmages. Gupta swept two matches before falling to Yale’s Andrew Vinci. Hill, however, won all of his weekend matches, going 3-0, 3-0, and 3-1.

The lady squashers also look forward to improving upon their results from last year. While the Red has no upperclassmen, it has seen proven leadership from many of its younger athletes. Two such squashers, Brooke Stetson and Cory Warfield, look to lead the Red to the top of the Ivy League this season. Due to the losses of Becca Brier-Rosenfield ’03 and Rachel Perchetz ’03, however, the team will face an uphill battle.

Freshmen Stephanie Xethalis, Caitlin Russell, and Jamie Singer — all of whom have proven themselves as the type of players Cornell needs — will attempt to plug the holes and fill the shoes of the Class of 2003.

After a somewhat disappointing result last season, Cornell looks to improve upon its seventh-place conference finish. Fortunately for the Red, the squad’s youth will allow improvement not only this season, but over the course of the years to come.

After a tough weekend for the women in the Ivy Scrimmages, both teams have their first matches of the season this coming weekend. Both will face Penn on Nov. 22. Penn’s men’s team barely finished behind the Cornell in the Ivy League last year, while the lady Quakers finished third in the Ancient Eight.

After taking on Penn, the men will battle the University of Ontario, and the women will be facing the University of Toronto for their second match of the day. Both squads will finish out their weekend against the Princeton Tigers. The Princeton men won the Ivy League last year while the women finished in a three-way tie for third.

Archived article by Rick Griffith