Sophomore Chang Whan Yea reports on his team’s recent trip to Maine and Harvard.
Stanford, CA – In the midst of a crisp, biting Maine blizzard, the warmth of team camaraderie fueled the Stanford men’s team on our trip to the East Coast.
With the daunting challenge of playing six matches in 48 hours looming ahead, we embarked on our long journey with confidence on Thursday, January 28th. Although we reached the hotel past midnight and woke up to a groggy morning in Waterville, Maine, we were suddenly lightened up by the arrival of Vini “The Overnight Express” Shetty, who joined the team after his red-eye flight. On that high note, we entered Colby College on Friday, poised to take on #31 MIT and #23 Colby. The match against MIT proceeded smoothly with noteworthy victories from Miles “The Rainman” Bennett, playing at the number 4 position, and Sam “The Minister” Gould, who encountered a former high school teammate at the number 1 spot. We closed out the Engineers, winning decisively with a match score of 9-0. Winning the Colby match was vital to retaining our collegiate ranking and a coveted spot in the middle of the C’s. We won 7-2, with an especially inspiring victory from Derek “Sweet Pea” Rowley, who has been battling a shoulder injury.
On Saturday, we packed our bags and moved on to the next stage of competition with Bowdoin College. Faced with the difficult task of matching up against the #15 Bowdoin team and a shot at moving into the B division, we stepped on court with hopes of making one of the greatest upsets in our team’s history. As summarized by Gould, “[the team] had nothing to lose.” Despite exciting and hard-fought matches, the team ultimately fell 9-0. However, Shetty had a noteworthy performance at number 2, losing his last game 11-9 after a 2-2 tie, and Ananth “Peachez” Sridhar fell after four close games at the number 4 spot. In the afternoon match against #11 Bates, we battled fatigue and suffered an 8-1 loss to the strongest team we have faced this year. The only win came at the number 2 position, where Shetty outlasted his opponent in a 3-2 victory. Sergeant Patrick Michael Bugas also played some very strong games against what seemed to be a very athletic foe at the number 3 position, ultimately falling 3-0.
On our final day of matches, we started by facing off against a Northeastern team that had lost a significant number of its former players to graduation and transfer. After a very tense initial round of matches, we prevailed 6-3. At the bottom of the ladder, Mark “Talbott Jr.” Wieland and I had convincing victories at the number 8 and number 9 positions, respectively. Our final match of the weekend came against our closest ranked opponent, #19 Tufts University. It was a very entertaining and tightly contested match-up, which was not given justice by the final match score of 6-3, since there were five matches that went to the final game. Wieland had a very impressive 3-2 victory at the number 9 spot, putting the significant strides he has made in his game on full display. Bugas unfortunately suffered a heart-breaking defeat in five games, playing an opponent that simply would not give up on any point. We look forward to a potential rematch against Tufts at the Collegiate National Championships in mid-February.
Despite missing the leadership of head coach Mark Talbott, we displayed a strong performance through these first four matches with the unwavering support of the team parents. Over the weekend, we displayed endurance, skill, and sportsmanship on the squash courts. We notched a 3-3 record, retaining our national ranking and earning valuable experience by battling our East Coast opponents.