Philadelphia, PA – Ali Farag of Harvard defeated Amr Khaled Khalifa of St. Lawrence in four games to win the men’s individual national title today at Drexel University.
Both Farag and Khalifa had won the Pool Trophy and with it the men’s individual title before. Farag won in 2012 and was looking to defend his title last year when Khalifa upset him in a thrilling five-game match in the semifinals. Khalifa went on to win the 2013 individual title over Todd Harrity of Princeton in three games.
This season, Farag came out on top when he faced Khalifa during the Harvard-St. Lawrence dual match, defeating the Saints’ sophomore in three games. That win was part of an undefeated season for Farag, who played number 1 for the Crimson.
At the Men’s National Team Championships, Farag was presented with the 2014 Skillman Award, the highest individual honor in men’s college squash. During his time at Harvard, Farag has earned First-Team All American and All-Ivy honors twice. He was also named the 2012 co-Ivy League Rookie of the Year.
Farag was the top seed in the Pool Trophy this year, and he appeared to be on a mission to reclaim the title that eluded him last season. He won each of his matches in three games, as he took down Christopher Jung (Dartmouth), Dylan Ward (Princeton), Sammy Kang (Princeton), and Moustafa Bayoumy (St. Lawrence).
Khalifa’s sophomore season was shortened due to concerns about injury, and he went 6-1 through the Men’s National Team Championships. The year before he had posted a perfect 15-0 record, earned First Team All-American honors, and was named Liberty League Player and Rookie of the Year.
In the 2014 Pool Trophy draw, Khalifa was seeded second to Farag, and like the Harvard senior, he dispatched all of his opponents by a score of 3-0. On his way to the final, Khalifa defeated Pedro Almeida (Franklin & Marshall), Ryosei Kobayashi (Rochester), Mario Yanez (Rochester), and Ramit Tandon (Columbia).
In the final, Khalifa got on the board first, going up 2-0 in the first game. Farag tied the game at 3-all, but Khalifa opened up a lead at 8-5. He powered on to win the first game 11-6.
Khalifa also led early in the second game, going up 6-2, but Farag won the next four points to tie the game 6-all. Farag broke away to 9-7, but Khalifa dove for a ball to tie the game again at 9-all. The game went into tiebreakers, and at 12-11 to Farag, the ball broke. Once play resumed, the Harvard senior won the final point, and the match was tied 1-1.
Farag was in charge in the third game. He began to open a lead and didn’t look back, winning 11-5.
Khalifa kept the fourth game close through 3-all. But Farag began to gain momentum, despite Khalifa’s best efforts, the Harvard senior took the game and match 11-4.
This was Farag’s second national title in two weeks: in addition to winning the Pool Trophy today, he helped Harvard capture the 2014 men’s national team title in February.