PHILADELPHIA, PA - Following the conclusion of the team squash season and an unforgettable division victory at nationals last weekend, 3 Ephs traveled to Philadelphia to compete at the Individual National Championships, hosted by the University of Pennsylvania. The three players representing Williams were junior Wyatt Khosrowshahi, sophomore Jacob Bassil, and freshman Udai Pal.
Of the three, it was the freshman that made the most impressive run despite his lower seeding. Entering the weekend, Pal faced a tough first round draw against Penn's David Yacobucci– a four-year starter for the Quakers and a senior playing his last college event at home, who had also reached the finals of his respective division at the last two years' Individual Championships. Pal lost the first game, but played some brilliant squash to take the next two and take a 2-1 lead. The experienced Yacobucci pushed it to a crucial fifth game, but Pal showed his mettle to win the decisive fifth in one of the upsets of the tournament.
Following his Friday morning victory, Pal squared up against Drexel's Noel Heaton in the afternoon. Clearly fatigued from the morning's endeavors, Pal was never quite at the races in his second match of the day, and succombed to a 3-0 defeat to conclude his tournament.
Bassil faced an interesting first round matchup against George Washington's Inaki DeLaurrari, one on paper that looked like it could really go either way. Bassil got off to a good start, winning the first game, but stumbled thereafter while DeLaurrari found his range. Bassil was eventually defeated in four games.
Despite the first round exit, Bassil was able to bounce back to make a strong run in the consolation bracket. In his quarterfinal match, he faced Conn College's MD Jawad, and secured a 3-0 victory for his second win of the season over the Camels player. In another NESCAC matchup, he then faced Tufts' Raghav Kumar. Again, Bassil was up to the task and delivered another 3-0 win, which set up a final match against Columbia's Justin Ghaeli. Unfortunately, Bassil was unable to find the same stride he'd enjoyed in previous matches, and ended his tournament with a 3-0 defeat.
Khosrowshahi also came up against a George Washington opponent in his opening round in the form of the team's #3, Jamie Oakley. After losing a tight 11-9 first game, Khosrowshahi lost his rhythm and was beaten 3-0. In the consolation, he managed a 3-1 first round win over Navy's Millen Randell, but then saw his tournament come to an end after a 3-1 loss to Columbia's Aditya Kankariya.
The conclusion of the Individual National Championship marks the official end of the 2019-2020 college squash season. The team will likely take a bit of time off before getting back into off-season training later this spring to prepare for this coming fall and next year's season.
See you next year!