By Anne Bello
Published Oct 22, 2010 at 3:00 PM ET; Updated Oct 17, 2010 at 1:09 PM ET

Washington, DC — For the past three seasons, the George Washington Colonials have been making steady progress up the national standings, and they finished the season with the highest ranking — 20th — in program history. Now the Colonials are aiming even higher and hoping to break into the Hoehn Cup (B Division).

With all but one player from last year returning and a number of strong players joining the team, the Colonials certainly have the potential to make the leap into the next division. A key addition will be Islam El-Fiky, who is transferring as a sophomore from the American University in Cairo. El-Fiky is a member of the Egytian junior national team, the top junior team in the world, and has been ranked #165 in the world PSA rankings. He is expected to play number 1 for the Colonials, taking over the spot from sophomore Omar Sobhy, with whom he trained over the summer in Cairo.

Also training in Egypt with Sobhy and El-Fiky was incoming first-year player Alex Nelson, who played at Episcopal and is expected to play in the Colonials’ top 5. Other incoming first-years include Nichols grad Larkin Brinkworth, who is expected to play in the middle of the ladder, and Chris Castelo and C.J. Bell, who should both contend for spots in the bottom third. Russell Powden, a junior transfer from Temple with previous squash experience, is also expected to play somewhere in the bottom of the ladder.

Another addition to the program is the new assistant coach, Jake Gross. A 2008 Tufts grad, Gross was the top player for the Jumbos. He was a member of the US U23 national team and placed 3rd in the US Squash Gold Nationals in the U19 Division. A D.C. native, he was coached by GW head coach Wendy Lawrence as a junior.

With these additions, GW could soon start making some noise in the top divisions of college squash.

2009-2010 SEASON RECAP

Season Record: 9-9
Final Ranking: 20
Team Championships: 20th Overall; 4th in Summers Cup (C Division)

2010-2011 SEASON PREVIEW

Program Status: Varsity

Head Coach: Wendy Lawrence

Returning Players from Team Championships: Michael Bower (9; 2009-2010 Captain); Jose Calderon (2); Samuel Ehrlich (8); Brett Feldman (5); Player Haynes (4); Michael Nair (6); Adam Pistel (7); Omar Sobhy (1); Scott West (10)

Graduates on Last Season’s Team Championships Roster: Matthew Grossman (3; 2009-2010 Captain)

Additions to the 2010-2011 Roster:

  • Expected to play number 1: Islam El-Fiky
  • Expected to play in the top 5: Alexander Nelson
  • Expected to play in the middle 3: Larkin Brinkworth
  • Expected to play in the bottom 3: C.J. Bell, Chris Castelo, and Russell Powden

Captains: Jose Calderon and Mike Bower

Team Goals: Reach the top #16 this season

Key Matches: Middlebury, Tufts, Bowdoin, and Williams

To read other team previews, please visit the 2010 – 2011 College Squash Preview Page.