Junior Mike Delany defeated two highly-ranked players, and freshman Caitlin Russell won the top women’s consolation bracket in one of Cornell’s best ever showings at the CSA Individual Championships, held this past weekend in Canton, N.Y.
Delany, a non-ranked entry, competed along with sophomores Ben Bernstein and Matt Greenberg in the tournament’s B-level Malloy division. Delany, the team’s co-captain, started the weekend with a win over Navy’s Scott Hackman. Later that day, Delany defeated Bowdoin’s Greg Clement, the bracket’s fifth seed, to advance into the quarterfinals.
In his next match, the squasher faced No. 4 seed Ryan Sherwood of Stanford. Delany beat the Cardinal 9-4, 9-3, 9-5 in dominating fashion. But next up was a semifinal match against No. 1 seed Jacques Swanipoel of Trinity. Delany lost to the South African native, and Swanipoel went on to win the Malloy Trophy. With his semifinal appearance, Delany proved himself to be one of the top players in the division, and he was the only player in the bracket to defeat two top-five players.
On the women’s side, Caitlin Russell finished her first Cornell season with a spectacular weekend. Playing in the B-level Holleran division, Russell began the tourney with a win over Jaye Gregory of Williams. Although Russell went on to lose in the second round against No. 5 Nicky Sheils of Yale, her tournament did not end. Instead, Russell continued play in the “second-round” consolation bracket, starting with a win against Trinity’s Siobhan Knight. Russell then defeated Brown’s Phoebe Anderson to advance to the consolation final against Katia Stipinovich of St. Lawrence. Russell dropped her opponent 9-6, 9-3, 9-2 to win the bracket.
The freshman, who played at the number one ladder spot for Cornell during the season, showed remarkable determination in the intense three-day tournament. Players have often found the individual tourney, with its two matches-a-day setup, to be exhausting. Yet Russel stayed focused and finished the weekend with as much skill as she had started it.
In other action, Ben Bernstein advanced to the quarterfinals of the Malloy division after a hard-fought win against No. 8 Dan Bishop of Williams. Bernstein went on to lose to Trinity’s Swanipoel, who went on to face Delany in the semifinals.
Matt Greenberg enjoyed a first-round upset of No.6 Ben Schippers of Bates, before falling into the consolation bracket. Junior Brooke Stetson managed a consolation win in the women’s Holleran division.
Sophomore Will Cheng competed in the men’s A-level bracket. Although he did not capture any wins, Cheng’s appearance in the top division indicates that the young Cornell team should be able to continue strong play next year.
The tourney ends the squashers season. The men’s team finished eighth in the final national rankings, while the women finished 11th.
Archived article by Ted Nyman