Saturday, December 2, 2023

Inside US Squash: College season is upon us

Sean Choi, of the Rally Report Podcast, looks at state of play in the US across players, competitions and clubs 

Happy Hunting Grounds at US Open

Timmy Brownell captured the spotlight at the US Open with a historic run that took him to the third round before ultimately conceding to three-time US Open Champion, Mohamed El Shorbagy. Given his trajectory over the past years, marked by successes at platinum events, it comes as no surprise that this quirky left-hander is making significant strides in platinum events and shows no signs of slowing down.

Even more significant headlines were created during his first-round match against the higher-seeded Dimitri Steinmann. The match concluded with a conduct warning in the fifth game due to dangerous play. 

This isn’t the first time Timmy has emerged victorious against Dimitri, nor is it the first time their encounters have ended in controversy. While the details of what transpired on the court remain shrouded in uncertainty, one thing is clear: Dimitri’s conduct was deemed unacceptable, and we earnestly hope such incidents will not mar future competitions. Timmy’s performance not only yielded positive results for the USA but also showcased his composure, which is a valuable representation of squash.

Timmy has successfully broken into the top 50 and currently holds the 41st rank. The upcoming months will be intriguing to observe as he navigates the pressures of consistently competing in platinum events. Kudos to Dimitri for admitting to his conduct and issuing his apology.

Paul Coll celebrates a thrilling victory at US Open PIC: PSA World Tour

Olivia Fiechter made her second semi-final appearance at the US Open, buoyed by the unwavering support of her hometown. The energy from her local fans proved to be a formidable force against her opponents. 

Olivia exhibited no restraint in expressing her thoughts about this season after securing a quarterfinal victory over Salma Hany, mentioning there have been some changes this summer in her game working with Rodney Martin and finding the correct ways to incorporate them with her natural game.

Fiechter, who may not have had the dream start to the season she had hoped for, did not seem to be a stranger to the big stages putting together convincing performances over Salma Hany and upsetting Nour El Tayeb. While she did eventually fall to Nour Sherbini, her fight against her showed a glimpse of what’s to come in future events!

New Faces, Same Passion: College Squash Upon Us

College squash season is upon us, and if you’ve been following US Squash over the past couple of years, you’re no stranger to the excitement that college squash brings. While comprehensive coverage of college squash will be provided in the coming months, now is the perfect time to start following along.

On the women’s side, Harvard continues to assert its dominance, holding onto the top spot despite a closely contested victory in last year’s championships. For the men’s teams, the departures of prominent names like Victor Crouin, Marwan Tarek, Aly Abou El Einen, and Youssef Ibrahim set the stage for an exciting season, where we’ll witness new players stepping up to the plate for their teams. 

Four-times winners Amanda Sobhy (Harvard) and Gail Ramsay (Princeton)

Although Harvard clinched the championship last year, it is Penn that claims the preseason top spot for the men’s teams. This is attributed to their strong incoming class and the return of their top players. Preseason rankings have been determined using US Squash Clublocker’s player ratings for the top nine players.

The depth of talent in college squash continues to rise, due to the increasing popularity of the sport in the collegiate arena and the recent successes of former players on the professional tour.

Sean Choi is host of the Rally Report Podcast

Follow updates on @therallyreport on Instagram. The podcast can be found on Youtube, Apple Podcast, Spotify and Anchor

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