Although the team season came to close in February, members of the Yale men’s and women’s squash teams will have the opportunity to compete for individual glory this weekend at the College Squash Association Individual Championships in Washington, D.C.
The event, hosted by George Washington, features five divisions, separating the top-16 nationally seeded players into the A bracket and the remaining 17 to 64th-seeded players shuffled among the remaining B divisions. Spencer Lovejoy ’20, Harrison Gill ’21 and Lucy Beecroft ’20 will all compete in the A division. The men — who finished 10th in the final team rankings — will send two additional members to the B divisions while the women — who finished fourth — will send Helen Teegan ’21 to a B division.
“I’ve been eyeing the championships for a while because it is such an honor to represent Yale at the individuals because, in the end, most players in college squash are not invited to attend,” Gill said. “This became a reality two weeks ago when I started yielding some very good results, and this will be a really fun experience.”
As a team, the Yale men last took home the A-division Pool Trophy in 1982, but Kah Wah Cheong ’17 captured the B-division Molloy Cup two seasons ago. The women’s team last claimed both the A-division Ramsay Cup and B-division Holleran Cup in 2012.
For the Yale men, third-seeded Lovejoy and seventh-seeded Gill will competing at the A-division level, while Jay Losty ’19 and Yohan Pandole ’19 will represent the Bulldogs in their respective B-divisions.
Lovejoy returns to the Individual’s after coming off a personal win against George Washington in the national B-division finals. Lovejoy sat the beginning of the season out due to appendicitis and began the campaign shakily with losses against both Penn and Princeton. However, he quickly caught his footing with an exciting and competitive St. Lawrence match and later went on to score wins against Ivy rival Dartmouth and other nonconference foes. Lovejoy held the No. 1 spot for Yale throughout his season.
“I am a believer in leading by example, and that your actions on the court, your actions during practice, your actions during training, are going to help lead the rest of the team,” Lovejoy said. “You do not have to be in a leadership position in order to lead, but rather by showing everyone the right thing to do each day.”
Gill will travel to his first Individual competition after contributing consistently to the team’s output. During the regular season, Gill fell only to opponents from Harvard, Columbia, Rochester and St. Lawrence.
Gill sat at the No. 2 spot for the majority of the season, pulling wins against respectable competitors George Washington, Dartmouth and Trinity, to name a few. Against Trinity especially, he took his competition to five games and showcased his potential with strategic shots and a focused mentality.
Losty will make his return to the Molloy division after falling to Pierson Broadwater ’18 in the consolation semifinals last season. Ranked No. 9 in the regular season, Losty dominated the court in integral matches against Columbia and Trinity. He enters the Molloy North division seeded No. 10, and will take on a Drexel Dragon in the first round on Friday.
Yohan Pandole will make his debut performance at the Individuals, coming into the tournament seeded No. 6 in the Molloy West division. Pandole enjoyed consistent success throughout the season, especially shining in his display against Rochester, where he pulled out a three-game win at his spot against the No. 4 ranked team.
“It is a huge honor to have been selected, and I am very excited to go and represent Yale again,” Pandole said. “It will be fun to go back to the individual format of the game for a weekend. I’ve played squash since I was a child and I’ve always loved it.”
Two of the younger members of the Yale women’s squash team will also participate in the CSA Individual Championships this weekend, where they will test their skills against the top players in the nation two weeks after the team’s semifinal finish in the CSA National Championships.
Beecroft will be the No. 14-seed in the A division while Teegan will be the No. 1-seed in one of the B-divisions. The duo’s play launched Yale into the top four teams in the country for the first time in four years, and Beecroft and Teegan hope to continue their dominant play this weekend.
“I’m really looking forward to the individual competition, it will be a great experience,” said Teegan. “Riding off some of the momentum from two weeks ago will be crucial.”
At the CSA Team Championships, both Beecroft and Teegan were instrumental in the team’s close 5–4 upset of then-No. 4 Stanford, which sealed Yale’s spot in the semifinals. In the third-place match against Princeton, Teegan earned the team’s sole victory over the No. 2 Tigers, defeating her opponent in a dramatic five-game duel.
Beecroft’s performance in the individual competitions last year earned her first-team All-American status, while Teegan will be competing in the event for her first time.
“It’s a different feeling playing for yourself, but I’m still looking forward to representing Yale as always,” Beecroft said. “The top draw is looking really strong this year, so I’m expecting some tough matches but hoping I can play well and finish the season strong.”
The CSA Individual Championship commences on Friday.
Lauren Cueto | email@example.com