December 29, 2015
A Record 57 Urban Squashers Playing College Squash
As the college season enters its final weeks, a record 57 urban squash players are playing college squash for 28 schools. Sixteen students play for NESCAC colleges Bates, Bowdoin, Connecticut College, Hamilton, Middlebury, Trinity, Tufts, Wesleyan, and Williams. Two urban squash women represent Ivy League teams, Columbia and Penn. Hobart and William Smith’s men’s team boasts five urban squash players in the top nine, making it the first collegiate roster filled with a majority of urban squash players. In all, there are 28 women and 29 men from urban squash programs playing college squash.
Two urban squash men and three urban squash women represent teams ranked top ten in the nation. Kingsley Amoako and Michael Kelly, both CitySquash alumni, play on the St. Lawrence men’s team, which was ranked second in the nation last season. Katiria Sanchez of CitySquash plays for the Trinity women’s team, which was also ranked second in the nation last season. Access Youth Academy’s Sharon Vongvanith represents University of Pennsylvania and Reyna Pacheco, who is ranked World No. 85, plays for Columbia’s women’s team.
Oscar Merino of SquashSmarts is the first urban squash student to represent Williams College. William Pantle from CitySquash is the first urban squash student to compete for Fordham University, where CitySquash is based.
The transition from high school to college can be challenging, as student-athletes adjust to the higher level demands of athletics and academics. It is easy to get swept up into the excitement of athletic competition, but Mawa Ballo, a StreetSquash alumna and sophomore at Connecticut College, explained “you have to realize that you are a student before an athlete.”
Collegiate squash is provide urban squashers leadership opportunities as well. This year two urban squash alumni serve as teams captains: Danny Cabrera, who received Hobart’s Dr. Frank P. Smith ‘36 Award for Leadership, and Raheem Logan. “To be a leader is to be consistent with your approach and actions whether the spotlight is on you or not,” said Logan. “I embraced my urban squash background with how I conducted myself and my play, and I was fortunate to get recognized for that.”