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Squash: The Up-and-Coming Sport

Written by Gillian Smith

When most people think of the sport Squash, they imagine prep-school boys in knee-highs and sweatbands battling it out. Today, however, this prep school sport has expanded into colleges across the nation, Ithaca College included.

Squash is a fast-paced two-person racquet sport played in a four-walled court with a small hollow black rubber ball. It is played in over 100 countries worldwide. It tends to be a sport played in the most elite private schools, such as Ivy leagues and NESCACs but is quickly growing throughout the country at other private and public colleges.

Brad Kolodner, president of IC Squash Club, said he had played squash for two years in high school and decided to create a club at the college with classmate Leisa Robotham. At the student club and organization fair in 2009, 40 students signed up expressing an interest in joining the club.

“We knew right then this club was going to work,” Kolodner said, “regardless of the logistical difficulties we faced.”

One of the major obstacles the club now faces is that there is no court on the IC campus, so they have to travel to East Hill, where Cornell has 6 Squash courts. After figuring out transportation logistics, Kolodner and Robotham registered as an official sport club at IC and about 15 students came to the first practice.

In January 2010, IC Squash Club had their first match against the Cornell club team, losing 8-1.

“Despite our loss,” Kolodner said, “the framework was in place for a successful season. I measure our success by our growth, not by our wins a losses.”

College squash is not an NCAA sport; it has its own governing body, the College Squash Association (CSA). There are approximately 70 teams in the CSA around the country. The teams compete regardless of whether they are varsity or club teams. At the end of the year, CSA hosts the college squash national championships where all teams compete.

IC Squash Club sent out a five-man team to the championships and finished third out of five team in the emerging bracket. They ended the season 60th out of 64 teams. Kolodner says he has high hopes for this season as well.

“I entered this season with even higher hopes and aspirations for the squash club,” he said. “With a number of first year students with experience, I saw that our team had the potential to blossom into a legitimate college squash program.”

IC Squash Club practices twice a week at Cornell. The practices start in October and end in April. The often play against Siena, Colgate, Bryant, Fordham, Notre Dame and Vermont.

Kolodner said he is always looking for new players, regardless of their experience with the sport. He said the sport is meant to introduce squash to new players and to provide experienced players a chance to continue playing at the college level.

“Squash is a great sport and the club is a ton of fun,” he said. “I couldn’t be prouder of my teammates for their hardwork and success this season. I’m already excited for next season!”



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