Both the Harvard men's and women's squash teams produced excellent performances at their National Intercollegiate Singles Championships held at Trinity last weekend.
The tournament, an individual event held at the end of the season, provides an opportunity for the best players of both teams to test their skills and stamina while competing against the best intercollegiate players of the country. Six women and seven men represented Harvard at this match.
The men performed particularly well, with sophomore Daniel Ezra winning the tournament after defeating fellow sophomore Joel Kirsch in the final.
"It was a very tough weekend," said Ezra. "It was a shame that I played Joel because he played some of the best squash I've seen at the intercollegiate level [in his semifinal].
Indeed, to make the final Kirsch had to defeat senior co-captain Tal Ben-Shachar, who is a Crimson editor, in what Kirsch described as "a very tough match which could have gone either way."
With these performances, three of Harvard's players made it to the top four spots of the intercollegiate championships.
However, as Ben-Shachar points out, "all other players performed really well."
Sophomore Rishaad Bilimoria made it to quarter-finals, coming back form three matchpoint to win in five.
Sophomore Jeffrey Blumberg defeated teammates Andy Walter and Ted Bruenner in two tough matches to reach and win the final of the consolation round. He secured ninth place while Bruenner came in eleventh overall.
"Jeff especially played very well," said Ben-Shachar." He beat many high-ranked players."
Among the racquetwomen, performances were also very strong. Three of Harvard's women came out among the top eight intercollegiate players.
Sophomore Ivy Pochoda, Harvard's top player, made the final but lost to the top seed.
"I am very happy with my performance," said Pochoda, who is a Crimson editor. "I beat the number-two seed in the semis and I was seeded third overall."
Co-captain Blair Clark and Freshman Lindsay Wilber both made the quarter-finals. To make the top eight, Wilber had to defeat teammate Brooke Herlihy as well as other high-ranked players.
"It was a tough draw to get to where I was," she pointed out. "I am very happy and excited."
Wilber's teammates also had to get through tough rounds. Both Herlihy and freshman Stephanie Teaford defeated individuals seeded 5-8.
Due to their efforts they obtained ninth and tenth place in the tournament, respectively.
Junior Lucy Cummings also participated in the match, making it to the semi-finals of the first round consolation.
Overall, both men and women are satisfied with the tournament. The season has been long, and players have been on the go since October.
"It was tough, but under the circumstances everyone played very well," Pochoda said.
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