By Michael T. Bello
Published Sep 17, 2009 at 7:00 AM ET; Updated Sep 12, 2009 at 9:30 PM ET

illinoisUrbana-Champaign, IL — Squash at the University of Illinois was reborn last season. The University completed construction of its new squash facility, which features three courts, and a group of dedicated players joined together to form a team. The group sent five players to the Emerging Teams division at the National Team Championships.  The Fighting Illini defeated Bucknell, Swarthmore, and Siena in round robin play to win the division.

Illinois is a young team: four of its players last year were first-year students, and all will be returning this season. They will be joined by several experienced players from the class of 2013, including Thurston Lee (Williston Northampton School),  Elliot Schwartz (Missouri Athletic Club), and Anthony Chau (Phillips Academy). In addition, several other players are expected to join the squad this season, including  Ajit Bhalodia (’12), a converted tennis player, and Reese Hartmann (’12), who has experience playing squash in South Africa.  The team has players from South Africa, India, Hong Kong, China, Thailand, Missouri, Illinois, and California.

With the talent of players on this year’s squad, every ladder position is up for intense competition.  The team is ready for its opening matches against Midwest rivals Notre Dame and Purdue in late September.

2008-2009 Season Recap

FINAL RANKING: 53rd
NATIONAL TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS: 53rd; 1st in Emerging Teams Division

2009-2010 Season Preview

Returning Players from Team Championships: Jimmy Xu (’12), Vedant Bubna (’12), Maninpat Naviroj (’12), Rajiv Reddy (’12)

Likely Additions for the 2009-2010 Roster: Ajit Bhalodia (’12), Reese Hartmann (’12), Thurston Lee (’13, Williston Northampton School), Elliot Schwartz (’13, Missouri Athletic Club), and Anthony Chau (’13, Phillips Academy).

Captains: Vedant Bubna and Jimmy Xu

Team Goals: To become more experienced and to improve ranking

Key Matches: Notre Dame and Purdue