By Anne Bello
Published Oct 21, 2009 at 4:00 PM ET; Updated Nov 1, 2009 at 11:56 PM ET

wesleyanMiddletown, CT – After finishing the 2008-2009 season ranked 30th, Wesleyan looks to crack the top 20 this season. The team is returning all but two players: former number 2 Benjie Messenger-Barnes and former number 5 Tyler Snell, who will be working as a teaching pro at the Fairmont Squash Club in the Philadelphia area for the upcoming season.

The 2009-2010 squad will be captained by seniors Nate Fowles, who played number 4 last year, and Lonnie Gibbs, a Street Squash alum who played number 6 and is one of four urban squash players in Wesleyan’s program.  Joining the team will be first-year students Shivan Bhanvnani, the Pingry School’s former number 1; Brewster Lee, the Brooks School’s number 1; and Lucas Wherry, who has played out of the Heights Casino Squash Club. Junior Matt Candal might also join the Cardinals’ well-balanced roster, which features four seniors, three other juniors, and three sophomores.

Under the guidance of head coach Shona Kerr, now in her fifth year at Wesleyan, and assistant coach Geoff Wheeler, the Cardinals hope to challenge NESCAC rivals Middlebury, Colby, and Connecticut College. The Cardinals defeated Conn 5-4 in last season’s NESCAC tournament, but lost to the Camels 3-6 later in the season. Wesleyan, which is planning a training trip for January, also looks to avenge a close 4-5 loss to Northwestern in the opening round of the 2008-2009 National Team Championships.

Wesleyan’s Rosenbaum Squash Center was busy this summer, with two weeks of camps with David Palmer, Julian Illingworth, and Shaihir Razik. The Cardinals hope to channel some of that energy into a successful 2009-2010 season.

2008-2009 Season Recap

Season Record: 7-15
Final Ranking: 30th
Howe Cup Results: 30th; 6th in Conroy Cup (D Division)

2009-2010 Season Preview

Returning Players from Team Championships: Robert Broadfoot ’10 (1); Dale Kobrin ’11 (3); Nate Fowles ’10 (4); Lonnie Gibbs ’10 (6); Charlie Crake ’11 (7); Sam Plapinger ’12 (8); Blake Rosenbaum ’12 (9); Carlos Richardson ’12 (10); Kyle Baicker-McKee ’10 (11)

Graduating Players from Team Championships: Benjie Messenger-Barnes (2); Tyler Snell (5)

Additions for the 2009-2010 Roster:

  • Expected to play in the top 5: Shivan Bhanvnani (Pingry School); Brewster Lee (Brooks School); Lucas Wherry (Heights Casino Squash Club)

Captains: Nate Fowles and Lonnie Gibbs

Team Goals: To crack the top 20

Key Matches: Conn College, Middlebury, Colby, and Northwestern

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