Juniors headline squash programs at CSA Individual Nationals

Media Credit: File Photo by Arielle Bader | Senior Photo Editor

Junior Salim Khan was one of two upperclassmen to win a second match at the College Squash Association Individual Nationals this weekend.

Men’s and women’s squash capped its 2020 season with a series of victories at the College Squash Association Individual Nationals this weekend.

All five Colonials selected for the tournament secured a win in the first round of play Friday morning, and two Colonials – senior Engy Elmandouh and junior Salim Khan – picked up a second win in the afternoon. Junior Zoe Foo Yuk Han became the first Colonial on the men’s or women’s side to be named a First-Team All American.

“It went about as well as it could’ve gone,” head coach Anderson Good said. “In our first-round matches, all five people who represented the team all won in the morning, which was great.”

On the women’s side, Foo Yuk Han competed in the Ramsay Cup (A Division), where she earned All-American status for the third year in a row. Her five-game win over Trinity sophomore Sarahi Lopez secured her status as a First-Team All-American.

Foo Yuk Han moved into the quarterfinals of the A Division Friday afternoon, where she fell to senior Amelia Henley from Harvard in three games. She finished the season with 18 wins. Good said she also had big ambitions for her final season at GW.

“Zoe and I talked about it, but she wants to try to be one of, if not the best player in the country next year,” Good said. “Which I think is very attainable for her.”

Elmandouh, who competed in the Holleran Cup (B Division) West bracket, topped junior Ona Prokes from Drexel in five games. Four games extended beyond 11 points, including an intense 15-13 win in the fifth game to secure the match for Elmandouh.

The win pushed her further into the main bracket, where she downed Williams junior Julia Ward in four games. One of these games – Ward’s 13–11 win in the second round – pushed beyond 11 points, making it Elmandouh’s fifth extended game of the day.

“For Engy, she was playing among some underclassmen, and she used her experience,” Good said. “And she could kind of be tricky and smart and clever in certain situations when she really needed those points.”

Elmandouh returned to competition Saturday in a semi-final matchup against junior Emme Leonard from Princeton. She fell in three games, finishing the 2020 season with 14 wins and ending her college career with 48 individual victories for the Colonials.

On the men’s side, Khan advanced furthest, making it to the semifinal round of competition in the Molly Cup (B Division) South bracket. He started off the weekend with a three-game win over Cornell junior Luke Park, who he topped by an average of 7.3 points per game.

He coasted to another three-game win over Yale sophomore Eric Kim to advance to the semifinal round. He took on junior Yash Bhargava from Pennsylvania Saturday but was downed in three games, finishing his season with 16 individual wins for the Colonials.

Senior Jamie Oakley topped Williams junior Wyatt Khosrowshahi in three games Friday morning to advance to the quarterfinals of the Molly Cup (B Division) North bracket.

He fell to sophomore Enzo Corigliano from St. Lawrence in three games, the last of which extended to 12 points before Corigliano secured the win. Oakley finished the season with 12 wins.

Good said that while Oakley had a “tough draw” in the tournament, both he and Elmandouh ended their Colonials career on high notes.

“I’ve seen both of them grow tremendously, especially as leaders and just maturing not only as squash players but as people,” he said. “And it was great that they were able to cap off their careers with a couple very good wins.”

Junior Inaki De Larrauri opened the tournament with a four-game win against Williams sophomore Jacob Bassil. He came back from a 13-11 loss in the first game to top Bassil by an average of 4.3 points, moving to the quarterfinal round in the Molly Cup (B Division) East bracket.

He fell to Harvard’s sophomore George Crowne in four games, ending the 2020 campaign with 14 individual wins. Good said de Larrauri and Khan hope to join Foo Yuk Han as All-Americans next season.

“It’s continuing to develop and get better,” Good said. “For both of them, trying to go for All-American status is well within their grasp.”

The Colonials will graduate five seniors. On the women’s side, the squad will lose Elmandouh and Emma Tyron, who had a total of 31 career individual wins for the Colonials. The men’s team will say goodbye to Oakley, Juan Sebastian Laguna and Geordie Laird, who logged 40 and 19 individual wins for the Colonials, respectively.

Last month, the women’s team ended the season ranked No. 14 in the nation, one spot higher than No. 15 last year. The men’s squad, which did not secure the Hoehn’s Cup B Division for the first time in three years, finished the season ranked No. 15 in the nation last week.

“Frankly, individuals, it’s just kind of a different mentality,” Good said. “Because you go through the entire year, you’re competing as a team, which is inherently kind of an odd thing in an individual sport. And then one weekend after the biggest team competition of the year, you get to completely switch gears and go to the individual side of things.”

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