Ben Parker / Sun Assistant Photography Editor

The men's team exhibited its composure in close call matches against Franklin & Marshall College and Dartmouth.

March 16, 2020

Cornell Squash Teams Finish Strong, Ending Season Before COVID-19 Causes Cancellations

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With the cancellation of classes and any remaining athletics seasons, the Red’s squash team was able to finish out its 2019-2020 schedule relatively unscathed.

Although the team’s season ended before the suspension of classes, the players still felt the impact of the news.

Specifically, the team has multiple international students who had to abruptly leave  for their home countries.

Head coach David Palmer made sure they were taken care of. Having spent the weekend helping his students, pack, store and make it home safely, Parker is now able to take time to ruminate on the season that just finished.

The coach was excited about the results.

The program boasted a few historic wins, including a match against Dartmouth, marking the team’s first win against the Green in Palmer’s tenure and the first for the Red against Dartmouth in seven years.

This win came during the men’s team championships, in which the team came incredibly close to winning the cup as a result.

Last season, the men ranked No. 14, but they were able to move up this time around. While they ended the regular season ranked No. 12 overall, they moved up two spots to No. 10 by the end of the team championships.

Both the men and the women ended the season with the same overall record, 7-11. It is a similar outcome to last season, in which the men finished 6-12 and the women 8-10.

This season, the women ended their season with a ranking of No. 11 nationally, only a slight drop from their last season’s No. 9 ranking.

“I think we really maximized our efforts,” Palmer said. “I’m really proud they could keep it going all the way through, for both programs.”

The women’s team also secured a few important wins, including a third-place finish at their national championships, in which they were able to top both George Washington University and Brown University.

The season itself ended at the beginning of the month with a successful Individual National Championships. There, two players, freshman Veer Chotrani and sophomore Sivasangari Subramaniam, were each named to the All-America first team.

With a graduating class of six, Palmer wanted to be sure to celebrate the departure of the seniors. Amid packing, he and the team put together an impromptu dinner to give out awards and say their goodbyes.

Although it was not the most official event, it was one last chance for the close-knit team to be together.

“At least we got together one more time before we all sort of separated,” Palmer said.

Palmer empathized with other spring teams who had their seasons cut short.

“I’m very glad we were fortunate enough to get our season done, and I feel very sorry for the spring sports that have worked hard and got their seasons cut,” he said.

Looking ahead, Palmer is focusing on working with his current students, improving the facilities and planning next season’s team. He has been sending out training manuals for his athletes to work with during the off-season, keeping in shape at home rather than at the Belkin Squash Courts in Ithaca.

Despite the fact that his in-person spring semester training has gotten cut short, Palmer plans to help his athletes any way he can.

“I’m working on staying in contact with them, and [helping] them with their plans over the next month,” he said.

At the home squash courts, Palmer and his staff are planning to make some updates, including adding improved video systems.

Palmer will work on recruiting new players for the 2021 class and planning next year’s schedule. The season will likely begin in early November with Ivy Scrimmages, followed quickly by the start of the regular season once again.

“It’s a very long season, but we seem to have a good habit in the last two seasons of really finishing strong,” Palmer said.