A lot of old blood may be draining out of the Harvard squash program this year as senior Reese. Robie and Charlie Duffy leave, but there's some quality new blood coming in to offset the loss.
Kenton Jernigan, the number-one junior in the United States for the past two years, will join David Boyum and the rest of the men's squash team next fall at Hemenway. He was accepted as a member of the class of '86 under early action last December.
"I can't really say why I applied to Harvard," Jernigan said by phone two days ago. "I looked at Penn, Princeton and Yale, and it was a tough choice, but there was just something about Harvard I liked."
"I'm happy he's coming here," exulted Harvard squash Coach Dave Fish two days ago, "because he's a fine young man who also happens to be damn good at squash."
Jernigan has made several visits to the Harvard campus since January, mainly to play with buddy Boyum. The two have struck up a friendship, playing and often competing in many of the same junior and men's amateur tournaments.
Had Boyum played junior competition during his senior year in high school instead of foresaking it for the more competitive men's tournaments, he would have finished last season ranked just behind Jernigan. Both managed to achieve national men's rankings.
Jernigan achieved perhaps the most impressive results of his young squash career at last month's Men's National Championships Wearing a Harvard t-shirt, he played all the way to the finals through a draw of the best squash players in the nation before losing to former intercollegiate champion and Princeton number one, John Nimick.
Jernigan hails from Newport R.I., and for the past two summers he has attended the squash camp Fish holds there. But he said Fish was not the primary attraction of the school.
"I know Dave pretty well, but I wouldn't go so far as to say the he's the best coach in the country; other schools have good coaches," so that wasn't an overwhelming factor in my decision. On the other hand, he didn't hurt my opinion of the school, like some coaches might."
Despite his impressive squash past, and hupeful squash future. Jernigan gives every sign of having fallen in with the Harvard model of student-athlete.
"I'm not coming just to play squash," the 18-year-old said. "I think it'll be school before squash: I don't want to come out of college and just be able to play squash."