Living up to a perfect reputation is always a tough assignment, but for Jack Barnaby and his squash players it is especially difficult to repeat last year's perfect performance. They have lost three of the first four men in their National Championship team.
Yet Hemenway Gym is not a center of dejection. Barnaby's squad is larger than usual and the spirit is high. Where most Harvard coaches usually want to better last year's record, Barnaby will settle for identical results--including the National Championship Team, and the National Intercollegiate Championships, and three individual championships. The team is confident it can do it.
Its main hope lies in Charlie Ufford, soccer and tennis captain, who finished runner-up in last season's Intercollegiate Individual Championships. Ufford played number three last year, but will move up into the first position for this season. Behind him, in the second spot, is Captain Jim Bacon. Bacon went to Chicago last February and played in the Crimson's championship victory at number four in the absence of Joe Clark. His regular '50-'51 spot was five.
This year's number three man is Dave Watts, another veteran of the Chicago trip. Watts has been handicapped by an injured thumb, sprained in House football, but by next week he should be fit. "Muggy" Mugaseth and Dave Symmes round out the first five players. Both are lettermen from last year
Alty Flagg will probably play number six and Wis Wood number seven. Both are varsity veterans. Behind them is is a dogfight to see who can corner the last two berths on the team. Larry Brownell last year's freshman captain and number one man, and Mike Ward, on the '54 Yardling team, are the principal contenders for the positions. Steve Sonnabend, a junior who was ineligible last year, and Charlie Elliott will give them a tough fight, however.
Barnaby is confident that his team will give another good showing this year. "We've lost Henry Foster, Hugh Nawn, and Joe Clark through graduation, but this year's spirit is excellent, and everybody is determined to make good on the move up to higher positions," he said. Barnaby pointed out that Harvard is the team to beat this year, and every other team will be gunning to knock the Crimson off its championship pedestal.
"We could win them all again," Barnaby said, "but the squad needs to come a long way to equal last year's form at the end of the season." The Crimson has a tough schedule, too. Four of its five toughest opponents take on Harvard away from Cambridge, and the fifth plays the Crimson at Cambridge, but right after February exam period. Dartmouth, Williams, Army, and Yale are all away games, with Princeton the only really tough home tilt.
The first match is with Dartmouth on Saturday at Hanover. Although the Crimson has never been beaten by the Indians in formal competition, it is in crippled shape for this match. Ufford cannot play because he will be in Philadelphia for the North-South all-star soccer game. Watts has dropped to number five because of his thumb, and both Brownell and Wood have colds. Even so, Harvard is favored in this match, and on pre-season reports it will be favored in every one. As far as the Crimson players are concerned they're still National Champs.