Denison Squash Squad Wins National Title
Posted: March 7, 2002
Denison University's men's squash club has returned from the National Collegiate Championships held Feb. 22-24 at Harvard University (Mass.) with a national division title and the 2002 Hoehn Trophy.
The Hoehn Division of the National Intercollegiate Squash Racquets Association brings together teams ranked ninth through 16th nationally for a postseason tournament. The Denison club defeated teams from Bates College (Maine) and the U.S. Naval Academy (Md.) by convincing 8-1 scores in the first two rounds of competition. DU then completed the division sweep with a dramatic 5-4 upset of the the University of Pennsylvania in the tournament finals.
Members of the 2002 Denison squash club with their individual Hoehn Trophies. Denison won the national Hoehn Division with a 5-4 upset of the University of Pennsylvania at the National Intercollegiate Squash Racquets Association championship tournament held Feb. 22-24 at Harvard University.
The three victories placed Denison ninth in the nation among all college squash programs and third among the country's small undergraduate liberal arts colleges. Denison finished the season ahead of other highly touted squash division teams such as Amherst College (Mass.), Bowdoin College (Maine), Franklin and Marshall College (Pa.), and Hobart University (N.Y.). Denison, Williams College (Mass.) and Trinity College (Conn.) were the only small undergraduate liberal arts colleges finishing in the national top-10. The other seven top-ten teams were all from Ivy League schools.
The Denison squad entered the tournament with an uncertain outcome. Having lost six seniors from the previous season, the club had to reinvent itself and allow the underclassmen to take leadership roles.
"Everyone peaked at the right time and had personal best performances. We could not have asked for anything more from them," said coach Jon Bridge, a 1982 Denison alumnus and one of the college's senior development officers. "Each player was an outstanding representative of the college."
One other element that set the DU squad apart in the Hoehn Division is that the other seven enjoy varsity team status at their respective institutions, while Denison designates is squash program as a club sport. There are a handful of club teams in the National Intercollegiate Squash Racquets Association, however, Denison is the only such program ranked in the national top-20.
Denison sophomore Javier Castilla (foreground) in action versus freshman Richard Repetto of Penn during DU's 5-4 win over the Quakers to capture the 2002 Hoehn Division championship last month in Cambridge, Mass. Repetto won the individual match, 3-1.
Denison's players performed equally well at the individual championships held March 1-3 at Princeton University (N.J.). DU's top player, sophomore Javier Castilla of Bogota, Columbia, became a two-time first-team All-American when he defeated freshman Josh Schwartz of Yale University (Conn.), 3-0, and junior Danny Rutherford of Princeton, 3-1, to finish in the national top-eight from among some 400 men's collegiate players. Castilla's only loss came in the quarterfinal round against freshman Bernardo Samper of Trinity, the tournament's top seed and eventual champion, 3-0.
Denison junior Abhijit Kukreja of Mumbai, India, made it to the consolation semifinals and finished among the national top-20 with 3-0 victories over freshman Henry Clutsam of Hobart and sophomore Pat Malloy of Trinity. Kukreja's semifinal defeat came by a 3-0 score at the hands of consolation champion Nadeem Osman, a sophomore from Trinity.
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