As they say, it’s easier said than done — and no one can attest to that more than Miranda Ranieri ’08.
On Sunday, the heavily favored Ranieri completed her final collegiate squash season, living up to lofty expectations that had followed her all season and winning the Ramsay Division to become national champion.
From day one this season, the Toronto native had the bull’s eye on her back. She was ranked No. 1 in the country according to the CSA individual rankings from the onset, and she didn’t disappoint in Annapolis, Md. on Sunday.
Ranieri compiled an 18-1 match record, winning 55 games while losing just seven all season. She ended her senior season on a 15-match winning streak and did not surrender more than one game in a match after her stunning 3-1 loss to Williams’s Toby Eyre on Dec. 7.
After leading the Bulldogs to a third-place finish in last week’s Howe Cup, the former Canadian junior national champion entered the weekend as a heavy favorite. After cruising through her first two matches, a freak ankle injury ten minutes before her quarterfinal match raised concerns, but Ranieri fought through it and continued mowing down her opponents. In all, Ranieri won five matches by a score of 15-1 — the lone loss coming in the final versus the nation’s second-ranked player.
It was especially gratifying after running into bad luck the last few years in this tournament.
“The last couple years she has either been injured or sick, so everyone is really happy for her,” head coach Dave Talbott said. “The whole league was happy because she’s widely respected.”
That league-wide respect brought with it some more hardware for Ranieri. Last week she was named the recipient of the College Squash Association’s Betty Richie Award for excellence in play, fairness and sportsmanship.
“We’ve had some really good players [at Yale] but she measures up with anyone,” head coach Dave Talbott said. “She’s been one of my strongest captains and she’s leaving the program in incredible shape. She’s been our best player and has built a great body of work in her four years. Yale can be real proud of her individual and team achievements.”
This weekend may also change her future after college. Prior to it, Ranieri didn’t think professional squash was something she would strongly consider. But that changed after she spoke at length to the Canadian national team’s head coach in Annapolis.
“I wasn’t thinking I was going to focus on squash after college until this weekend,” Ranieri explained. “The Canadian national coach kind of convinced me.”
A move to the pro ranks could be a change of perspective for the much-heralded Ranieri, who has spent much of her career as the favorite.
“I just don’t see my career ending now,” she said. “I will probably start on the lower end of the pro level, but hopefully I’ll move my way up.”