Princeton, NJ — Fifty-six teams in eight divisions competed in the 2009 Men’s National Team Championships, hosted by Princeton University. Trinity defeated Princeton in a dramatic 5-4 match to win the Potter Cup (A Division), claiming their eleventh consecutive national title.
Trinity came into the Potter Cup with a 16-0 season record and a 199-match winning streak, the longest in US varsity intercollegiate sports. The Bantams had cruised through the regular season, sweeping most of their dual matches. Their only real test came in the final match of the regular season, a close 5-4 win over Princeton. The Tigers’ only loss of the regular season came from the Bantams, who had beaten them 8-1 in last year’s National Team Championships final.
En route to the finals, Trinity swept Harvard in the semifinals after quickly dispatching Dartmouth in the opening round. Princeton soundly defeated UPenn but then was pushed a bit more in the semifinals by a steadily improving Rochester squad. In the finals, Princeton secured wins at numbers 5, 6, 7, and 9, while Trinity controlled the top of the ladder, winning at 2, 3, and 4 as well as 8. With the two teams tied at 4-4, the deciding match came down to the number 1s: Trinity’s Baset Chaudhry, the defending national champion, and Princeton’s Mauricio Sanchez, the two-time Ivy League Player of the Year who had beaten Chaudhry in a dual match a week earlier. Sanchez and Chaudhry took the match to five games, and Sanchez went up 5-0 to start the fifth. But Chaudhry battled back, winning nine points in a row to take the match for Trinity, extending the Bantams’ winning streak to 202 victories and eleven national titles.
The Hoehn Cup (B Division) final between the University of Western Ontario and Williams College also came down to the number 1 match. With the teams tied 4-4, UWO’s top player, Chris Hanebury, took the first two games against Williams’ Ethan Buchsbaum easily, winning 9-0, 9-1. But Buchsbaum fought hard in the third, tying the game at 5-5. Hanebury regained control of the game and won 9-5, giving UWO its first Hoehn Cup title.
The Summers Cup (C Division) saw yet another close final, featuring Bowdoin and one of the MCSA’s newest varsity teams, Middlebury. The two teams had met twice in the regular season, and Bowdoin had won by a score of 5-4 both times. But the Panthers found a way to turn the tables on Bowdoin, winning 5-4 and taking home the Summers Cup in only their second year as a varsity team.
The University of Virginia Cavaliers made an appearance in the finals of the Conroy Cup (D Division) only a year after winning the Chaffee Cup (E Division). While the Cavaliers, a club team, have been making progress up the rankings, the Camels of Connecticut College proved too strong for them, winning 8-1 to take the Conroy Cup back to New London for the first time.
Two other club teams, Drexel and Vanderbilt, faced off in the Chaffee Cup (E Division) finals. The young clubs – Drexel’s team was founded in 2006 and Vanderbilt’s was started in 2007 – defeated established varsity programs on their way to the finals. Drexel won the Chaffee Cup 6-3, but both teams proved they’ll be forces to be reckoned with in the future.
Kenyon College dominated the Serues Cup (F Division) competition, sweeping the University of Vermont and beating Vassar 8-1 before defeating Purdue by the same score in the finals. Lafayette swept Notre Dame to win the inaugural Hawthorn Cup (G Division), and Illinois defeated Bucknell, Swarthmore, and Siena in round robin play to win the Emerging Teams Division.
From intense competition between the top teams in the nation to the enthusiasm of the newest squads, the 2009 National Team Championships highlighted the best of college squash.