Most people have heard of the top-ranked Yalies in a few sports on campus. Mike McLeod ’09. Eric Flato ’08. But how many Bulldogs can claim the top spot in the country? Well, women’s squash captain Miranda Ranieri ’08 can.
The Toronto native is ranked No. 1 in the nation as of the Jan. 10 individual rankings. Ranieri has led Yale to a 9-2 overall record and a 2-2 record in the Ivy League so far this season. The Elis’ two losses this season have come against the top two teams in the country — No. 1 Princeton and No. 2 Penn.
The Bulldogs finish the regular season with matches against No. 9 Brown and No. 3 Harvard before heading back to Princeton to compete for the Howe Cup.
How and when did you start playing squash?
My parents introduced me to squash when I was seven years old.
Squash isn’t the most popular or widely played sport; did you ever think of concentrating on another sport?
For most of my life I played many different sports, including soccer, basketball and volleyball, but I always primarily focused on squash because I enjoyed it the most.
When did you realize that you had a future in the sport?
When coaches began recruiting me to colleges in the States, I realized that squash was opening up a lot of great opportunities for my future.
Who do you look up to in the squash world? Is there anyone in particular you model your game after?
I’ve always looked up to Jonathon Power, a Canadian player who has been ranked No. 1 in the world. In college, I’ve also always looked up to my coaches, Gareth Weber and Dave Talbott, who have spent so many hours playing with me.
How does it feel to know that others have ranked you as the best player in the country?
It feels good, I guess, although it puts a lot of pressure on me this season. There are a few girls that are at my level and I really look forward to playing them.
Is there anything in particular you feel you need to improve on individually?
I think technically I have many things I need to improve on. I’m weak in the back corners of the court, but I try my best to control the rally so that I don’t have to go to the back corners as much.
What is the team’s goal this season?
Our goal as a team is to win the Ivy championships and nationals. We are not favored to win, but we are a hard-working team and are eager to upset the top teams.
What do you hope is in your future with regard to squash?
I hope to continue playing squash after school, part time. I’ve been playing squash all my life, and I love competing, so I’d like to continue playing tournaments.
Also, what’s your major and residential college?
I’m a Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology major, and I live in Berkeley College with five amazingly supportive suitemates.