The Cornell men’s and women’s squash teams hit the road one last time this weekend to battle the nation’s toughest competition at the College Squash Association Individual Championships. Starting at nine o’clock this morning, eight of the Red’s best- five men and three women- began play in hopes of emerging from their respective thirty-two person fields as champion.
“It is going to be a very tough weekend,” said head coach Julee Devoy. “Right now it’s hard to say about our chances because we don’t know the draws, but it is certainly not going to be easy.”
This weekend’s Individual Championships represents a gathering of the top sixty-four nationally ranked men and women squash players. Each group is then divided into two thirty-two person fields and plays a double elimination tournament in order to crown a champion.
For the men, five of the Red’s top six ranked players will be in competition this weekend, including juniors Matt Serediak and William Cheng, along with senior Mike Delany, who will compete in the tournament’s top draw.
“The competition there will be very stiff,” said Cheng. “The number one seed used to play professionally and there are numerous other players that have played in professional qualifying tournaments. My goal is just to make the top twenty.”
Perhaps the Red’s most consistent performer, the twenty-fourth ranked Cheng appears to be in good shape to reach his goal having compiled an 11-4 record on the year and dropping only matches to top-ranked opponents.
Serediak, ranked thirteenth nationally, comes into the tournament with the best knowledge of the opposition, having played many of the nation’s best players as the Red’s No. 1 starter. After compiling seven wins already this season against top competition, Serediak looks to continue his success into this weekend’s tournament.
Also looking to make a splash for the Red is thirty-sixth ranked Delany who comes off a victory in his final collegiate match and three victories at last year’s Individual Championships.
Playing in the bottom draw for the Red are junior Matt Greenberg and sophomore Rohit Gupta who enters with one of the Red’s best records at 11-5.
Not to be outdone, the women send three of their own members and hope to find success in the bottom draw of the women’s competition.
The trio of women led by freshman No.1 starter Mairin Barnes and joined by junior teammates Cory Warfield and Allison Laycob hope to build on their successful second place finish in the Kurtz Cup at the WISA National Championships.
“We are all really excited about another competition especially after losing our last match at nationals,” said Warfield. “I am confident we will do well and come out with some wins.” For Laycob, this will be her first taste of competition at the Individual Championships, but she comes in with the knowledge of a veteran.
“I have had a strong season this year, but I will not have any easy matches this weekend,” Laycob said. “More than anything I hope to have played well and gained valuable experience.”
Each player will play two matches a day with the possibility of playing until Sunday so long as they can avoid two losses.
Archived article by Matt Gorman
Sun Staff Writer