Bob Burton, member of the Board of Directors for the Southeastern Squash Racquets Association (SESRA), reports on SESRA’s recent college tournament.
Atlanta, GA — The fourth annual Jester’s Southeastern college invitational went off with a bang in Atlanta January 21-23. With three CSA teams in attendance (Drexel University, Vanderbilt University, and the College of Charleston) together with two nine-man aspiring teams (Emory University and University of the South – Sewanee) and a strong prep program at The Westminster School, well over 150 individual matches were played over the weekend on nine courts at Midtown Athletic Club and Westminster School. Sponsored by Dunlop and Southeastern Squash, the weekend continues the rapid growth of intercollegiate squash in the Southeast.
Between college programs, Vanderbilt and Sewanee emerged 3-1 while Drexel went 2-2 and Charleston was 1-3. A two-month old program at Emory University produced an enthusiastic nine that scored a win in every match but their first intercollegiate victory will have to wait for a later date.
Of particular note was the Friday meeting between Vanderbilt and Sewanee for the Tennessee title and bragging rights. The Tigers and Commodores first faced off in football in 1891 but the first squash match was just a year ago with the more-experienced Vanderbilt team the victor. This year, the Tigers, in their second year as an active program, nipped the Commodores 5-4 with the deciding match at #1 between Sewanee’s Nick Platt and Vandy’s Zach Hoyt going into overtime in the fourth and fifth games. Nick brought home the title 9,(4),(9),10,10.
Sewanee went on to take Charleston, 6-3, and Emory, 8-1, but in their fourth match of the weekend ran into a hungry Drexel steamroller and dropped the decision 7-2. Drexel ended up with most of the matches but Dragons #2 Adam Ryan, #5 Nakul Jain, #6 Vaibhav Yadav, and #9 Paul Jamrogowicz all required five games to seal the win. Drexel and Vanderbilt have also had a longstanding squash rivalry and this year was no exception. Vanderbilt came away with a 5-4 victory, winning numbers 2 through 6.
Charleston #1 Torey Broderson got through the weekend without losing a match, although his contests against both Platt and Hoyt went to five games. Perhaps the most exciting match of the weekend was Charleston’s #4 Evan Casciato against Tyler Springs from Rhodes College. Four Rhodes players traveled from Memphis to partner with a mixed Georgia Tech and Georgia State team for several matches. The last match Saturday evening was Charleston versus Georgia Tech/Rhodes and featured Casciato and Springs in a five-game battle that ended in favor of Charleston, 9,7,(10),(10), 7. There is the possibility of an emerging 5-person team from Rhodes next year.
Also of note, Emory’s Taylor Lanier, playing at #2 and #1, went through the weekend dropping only one match to Vanderbilt’s Hoyt. Lanier’s toughest test was against Drexel #1 Chakkranga Rajapaksha in the last match of the weekend. The intensity notched up with each game until Lanier squeaked it out, 5,(6),8,(10),9.
Southeastern Squash (SESRA), which hosted the event, is looking forward to building intercollegiate squash in the Atlanta area and reaching additional collegiate teams in the coming year.