NATE CHOUKAS ’18
After an abbreviated winter break, Trinity men’s squash took to the courts to resume their 2018 campaign. The Bantams, defending their 15th national title, have played six matches since resuming their season, winning them all.
Trinity rolled right into 2018 with an away match at then no. 4 Columbia Uni-versity (Columbia is now ranked no. 2). This would prove to be one of Trinity’s greatest tests of the season, as the Bantams relied on Ziad Sakr ’21 in the five-slot to bring Bantam victory. Sakr swept a formida-ble opponent in Columbia senior Arhum Saleem, who had not yet lost a match this season, by scores of 11-6, 11-5, and 11-9.
The win propelled Trinity into a run of dominant victories at home, ousting the Dartmouth Big Green (9-0), Middlebury Panthers (9-0), and U-Penn Quakers (9-0). The Quakers, ranked no. 5 in the nation, were no match for the Bantams, as Trinity swept seven of nine matches 3-0. Playing in the nine-slot for Trinity, Andrew Lee ’20 delivered an inspiring performance, only allowing 14 total points to Quaker Jonathan Zeitis in all three games.
This past week, Trinity faced Navy on Sunday, Jan. 21 and Yale University on Wednesday, Jan. 24. Trinity cruised past Navy at home (8-1) before hitting the road to face the tough Bulldogs team. In a tightly contested match, Trinity hung on to beat their in-state rival at home (6-3). In the first four slots, Trinity and Yale went back and forth, splitting matches. Trinity no. 1 Kush Kumar ’20 won in five games against his Yale counterpart. Playing in the two-slot, Thoboki Moholo ’20 won games three and four to force a game five, but ultimately fell just short. Tri-captain Rick Penders ’18 defeated Yale’s Max Martin (3-2) in a thrilling comeback, taking games four and five to secure the win. Yale came back with another victory in the four-slot, evening the match, before Trinity’s five through eight players won their matches. Yale would go on to win in the nine-slot, but the effort proved to be too little too late, as Trinity dealt the stumbling Bulldogs their fifth consecutive loss.
On Saturday Jan. 27 the Bantams travelled to St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York for an af-ternoon match, and then to Clinton, New York to face-off against conference-rival Hamilton College. Trinity struggled in Canton, coming away with a close 5-4 win. Bantam rookies Ziad Sakr and Aryaman Adik ’21 garnered key wins against their St. Lawrence counterparts, while Trinity’s Kumar, Penders, and Mohohlo suffered tough, yet close defeats. After leaving Canton in the afternoon, Trinity headed to Clinton for a match against Hamilton. The Continentals struggled against the top-ranked Bantams, as not one player for Trinity suffered a loss.
Trinity heads back to Clinton, New York next weekend for the NESCAC Squash Championships, followed by a key home match against Harvard on Feb. 13.