Princeton, NJ — Call it an example of nice guys finishing first: Princeton, the winner of the 2012 Men’s National Team Championships,won the 2012 Sloane Award for team sportsmanship.
Since 1981, the Men’s College Squash Association has given an award to recognize the team that best exemplifies the ideals of sportsmanship throughout the season. The award was renamed in honor of former Williams and Haverford coach Sean Sloane in 2005; Sloane’s squad at Williams won the first team sportsmanship award in 1981.
The Princeton Tigers were recognized by their peers for their outstanding sportsmanship. Each year, coaches discuss with their team which team they feel is deserving of this award. Coaches then vote on the award at the National Team Championships meeting, with each team getting one vote. This year, the award was presented at the awards ceremony on the second day of the Men’s National Team Championships, which were hosted by Princeton.
During the regular season, Princeton went undefeated at home and suffered just one loss on the road, falling 2-7 to Trinity. The Tigers’ closest match of the regular season was a 5-4 win over Harvard in Boston; that match helped Princeton to win the Ivy League title.
As hosts of the A and B Divisions of the 2012 Men’s National Team Championships, Princeton had extra incentive to stay undefeated at home. Wins over Dartmouth and Cornell in the first two rounds of the tournament gave them that opportunity, but they faced tough opponents: thirteen-time defending national champions Trinity, who had defeated the Tigers 5-4 the last time team championships were held at Princeton.
Down 4-2 coming into the final round of matches, Princeton rallied to win the 2012 title in dramatic fashion. Senior co-captain Kelly Shannon secured the deciding win. For Shannon and fellow seniors Clay Blackiston, David Pena, and Chris Callis, the team’s other co-captain, the victory was a fitting bookend to their college careers; as freshmen, they had been on the losing side of a 4-5 championship final against Trinity.
The Tigers are led by head coach Bob Callahan and assistant coach Neil Pomphrey. Princeton has won the sportsmanship award once before, in 2000.