By Anne Bello
Published Sep 15, 2009 at 7:00 AM ET; Updated Sep 7, 2010 at 12:04 PM ET

fandmLancaster, PA — For over ten years, Franklin & Marshall has been hovering in the teens in the national rankings, flirting with the top ten but never making it in. The Diplomats believe they can improve upon last year’s twelfth-place finish, and, if everything goes well, crack the top eight.

The team’s depth has been steadily increasing each year. The top four players from last year’s squad will be returning, including sophomore Gabriel de Melo and junior Nadav Tannen, who started his college career at Hobart. The addition of de Melo and Tannen last year made a substantial impact on the F&M team, which climbed four spots in the rankings between 2007-2008 and 2008-2009. The team hopes incoming first-year players Juan Lopez and Guilherme Melo will have similar impacts on the team. Lopez, of Bogata, Colombia, and Melo, of Cotia, Brazil, are expected to contend for spots in the Diplomats’ top three. Pat Cunningham of Moreland Hills, Ohio, will also join the team and should play in the bottom three. Seniors Sadiq Madraswala and Zarir Aibara will captain the squad.

Head coach John White, a former world number 1 who recently retired from professional competition, will have the benefit of using F&M’s new digital video system. F&M will use the video system for webcasts of matches and as a training tool.

As White says, F&M should have “a very exciting year as the team has a great chance of getting back into the top 10.”

2008-2009 Season Recap

SEASON RECORD: 15-7
FINAL RANKING: 12th
NATIONAL TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS: 12th; 4th in Hoehn Cup (B Division)

2009-2010 Season Preview

Returning Players from Team Championships: Nadav Tannen ’11 (1); Gabriel de Melo ’12 (2); Sadiq Madraswala ’10 (3); Chris Gagnier ’11 (4); Zarir Aibara ’10 (7); Ben Lurio ’11 (8)

Graduating Players from Team Championships: Shane Slater (5); Ry Hawley (6); Pat Pasquariello (8); Ketan Patel (9)

Additions to 2009-2010 Roster:

  • Expected to play in the top 3: Juan Lopez ’13 and Guilherme Melo ’13
  • Expected to play in the bottom 3: Pat Cunningham ’13

Captains: Sadiq Madraswala and Zarir Aibara

Team Goals: To make the top 10 and if everything goes very well finish in the top 8

Key Matches: Dartmouth and Penn

To read other team previews, please visit the 2009 – 2010 College Squash Preview Page.