By Peter Burling
Published Dec 14, 2009 at 7:00 AM ET; Updated Dec 13, 2009 at 10:17 PM ET

Denison coach Peter Burling reports on the Denison Open Squash Tournament, which was held a few weeks ago.

denisonGranville, OH — The fourteenth annual Denison Open Squash Tournament was held December 4th – 6th, up on “the hill” in Granville, OH. As usual the tournament attracted all of the Denison players, all of the Kenyon players, and an eclectic group of adults from Baltimore, Columbus, Dayton, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo, and Pittsburgh.

As the perennial number one club team in the country (in jeopardy because of Mark “Sparky” Talbott’s Stanford Cardinal this year), Denison’s squashers travel a fair amount, and proceeds from the tournament certainly help offset the costs.

The tournament always has 2.5, 3.5, 4.5 and 5.5 fields. This year we added a Women’s Open round robin and a highly contested 45+ division.

In the 2.5, Denison freshman Coulter Bailey defeated teammate Clair Miller in the final 11-7, 11-7, 11-7.

Other than a local businessman, the 3.5 division featured only Denison and Kenyon players in the draw. Coulter Bailey once again moved into the semis with a good win over Kenyon’s Brandon Bollinger. Denison’s Simon Carr and Michael Krasnow advanced to the semis with wins over Kenyon’s Peter Dumbadze and Rob Mueller, respectively. Unfortunately, a default by the lone Kenyon player in the semis, Danilo Lobo Dias, led to an all-Denison final between the team’s number 6 and number 7.  Krasnow held his seed in a long and well-attended final over Simon Carr, 4-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-5, 11-7.

The 4.5 draw was by far the largest with a very full, 32-man field. The quarters featured 6 current Denison players (number 3 Ron Ongaro, number 4 Will Lawson, number 6 Krasnow, number 7 Carr, number 8 Henry Robb, and DU tennis player Nate Hobrath); an ’09 Denison graduate and captain, Mike MacDonald; and Kenyon’s number 1 player, Peter Nolan. Nolan and Ongaro moved into the semis easily while Hobrath and MacDonald advanced with much tougher wins (4 and 5 gamers.) Hobrath has been a squasher for three years now and hopes to play on the team in the near future. He showed that he could be an impact player. MacDonald defeated Hobrath in a good battle, while Nolan dispatched Ongaro in straights. In the end, Kenyon’s Peter Nolan played brilliant squash to win it all. He won going away and never relinquished a single game throughout the tournament.

The 5.5 draw featured many of Denison’s players including number 1 and number 2, Martin Prentice and Joran Diwan. Former top Princeton player and current PhD candidate at Ohio State, Rob Siverd, along with Colombian senior player Antonio Mira made the drive out from Columbus to compete. Peter Nolan once again made heavy noise as he advanced to the final after defeating Mira in the semis. But it was Rob “never saw a nick opportunity I didn’t like” Siverd who dominated the Denison boys and in the end, Nolan in the final. Siverd won 11-4, 12-10, 11-3.

The Women’s Open became a Round Robin after 2 late withdrawals. Clair Miller and Jess Demakos joined Kenyon’s Anna Roosevelt in the draw. Miller lost only one game en route to the title.

Although a small draw, the men’s 45+ final gave the crowd one of the finest and most well-fought matches of the tourney. Cliff Early, an attorney from Pittsburgh, played long-time tournament supporter and marketing expert from Toledo Neal Golding in the final. Back and forth went the final until Early ran it out in the fifth, 11-9, 4-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-4.