This past weekend, the Stanford Men's Squash team travelled to Boston, Massachusetts to compete in the College Squash National Championships, hosted by Harvard, MIT, and a number of other schools. Each year, this is one of the largest squash tournaments in the world, and it grows in size every year. This year, 60 men's squash programs from across the country competed in the event. The Stanford team competed in the fourth division, which matched the 25th through 32nd best teams in the country.
Stanford came into the event with hopes of defending last year's victory in the same division. Playing at MIT, the team got off to a good start on Friday by defeating Johns Hopkins by a score of 7-2. Stanford recorded victories at the 2,3,4,5,6,7, and 8 positions by Parker Odrich, Tyler Strand, Matt Stevens, Nick Xu, Vihan Khanna, Wyatt Hong, and John Han respectively. Will Sternlicht also won his exhibition match at the number 10 position in 5 games.
Stanford looked to continue their title defense on Saturday, when they took on Hobart College. Unfortunately, Stanford was unable to defeat the Statesmen, losing to Hobart for the second time this season. Hobart won by a score of 8-1. Matt Stevens, playing in the number 4 position recorded the only victory for the Cardinal. Hobart showed great toughness in winning a number of close matches, with several of the matches going to 4 or 5 games.
In their last match of the season, Stanford played Bucknell, looking to capture 3rd place in the division. In an extremely close match, the Bison edged the Cardinal 5-4. Stanford recorded victories at the 3,4,7, and 8 positions by Tyler Strand, Matt Stevens, Wyatt Hong, and John Han respectively. Wyatt's victory was particularly impressive, as he came back from 2 games down to win his match in 5 games. Nick Xu, playing at the number 5 position, also put forth a tremendous effort, rallying from 2 games down before falling in the decisive 5th game. With the loss, Stanford captured 4th place in the division, and thus, finished number 28 in the country. Despite the loss, the match was a tremendous end to the careers of seniors Tyler Strand, Wyatt Hong, and John Han. Each of these three seniors recorded a victory in his last career match. The Stanford Men's Squash team will greatly miss the contributions of these three terrific seniors in addition to injured senior captain Chris Baldock.
While the 4th place finish was a disappointing end to the season on the court, the weekend was once again full of unforgettable memories. Perhaps the highlight of the weekend was the end of season banquet, hosted on Saturday night by Ming Tsai, renowned chef and brother-in-law of Coach Mark Talbott. The evening was a chance for the parents, coaches, and players to celebrate the careers of the aforementioned senior class, and for each of the seniors to share his experience on the team and the impact that the team has had on his life at Stanford.
The Stanford Squash team would like to thank all the parents who supported us this weekend, as well as everyone else who supports the team in various different ways throughout the season. It is only because of this support that the team was able to have yet another fun and memorable season on and off the court. Finally, the team would like to especially thank coaches Mark Talbott and Richard Elliot for all their support, coaching, and mentoring throughout the year. These two remarkable coaches are truly what makes Stanford Squash special. Without Mark and Richie, Stanford squash would not be near the program that it is on or off the court.