The Bates squash program, which has been one of the most consistent and dominant athletic teams here on campus, figures to find itself among the top teams in the country once again this academic year. Looking at the men specifically, the team returns two All-Americans, one of whom is a national champion in senior Ahmed Abdel Khalek, the other just a junior and fellow Egyptian Ahmed Hatata.
Over the Thanksgiving break while the majority of Bates students returned home, both the men and women traveled to Cambridge, Massachusetts for the Boston Round Robin, which included the likes of Stanford, Brown, and fellow NESCAC foe Wesleyan. The men, who preformed remarkably well, finished 2-1 on the weekend. Individually the top two for the ‘Cats, Abdel Khalek and Hatata, were perfect throughout the round robin, each going 3-0. Following the top two and also going perfect on the weekend was junior Darrius Campbell, who has emerged as another top player for the ‘Cats.
According to head coach Pat Cosquer, Campbell, who was a second All-NESCAC selection a season ago, “has been solid” throughout his playing career at Bates. Cosquer continued by saying that looking forward, Campbell’s success at the number three spot “sets the table for the other guys,” and that when he wins, it provides a motivational factor for the team, which is vital when the team hits the closing month of the season and playoffs roll around.
Looking at the younger side of the team, with the Bobcats graduating three quality starters from a season ago, they will turn to three incoming first-years to bring up the rear throughout the season. First-year twin brothers John and Coley Cannon, coupled with McLeod Abbott, look to compliment the top with success early on. At the Boston Round Robin, the trio did just that, going 2-1 in their first collegiate action.
To Cosquer, this was expected heading into the season, as he noted, “I expect all three to contribute,” and added, “they’re all eager, work hard, and focused.”
Overall, the men’s team will be a dominant force this coming season. Senior Caran Arora, who like Campbell has flown under the radar, posted a 2-1 record in Cambridge and will certainly be a contributor down the road. Everyone will be needed at their top form quickly, too, as NESCAC squash powerhouse Trinity comes to town on Saturday.
On the women’s side, although the team entered the season ranked, it is a rebuilding year so to speak. The team graduated seven players a season ago and sports ten underclassmen currently. The development of the underclassmen will be interesting to watch throughout the season.
The women also traveled to Cambridge for the Boston Round Robin and came away 1-2. The women’s number one, first-year Kristyna Alexova, went 1-2 at the round robin and, according to coach Cosquer, leads an impressive crop of young talent.
“It’s a different energy, a young energy,” Cosquer said. The underclassmen are “eager to learn and excited to play every single day.” This eagerness and willingness to become better will be pivotal, as the team will most certainly improve throughout the year.
Other than Alexova, Guyana native Vicky Arjoon ’19 looks to compliment the number one position while playing in the two spot, while fellow first-year Katie Bull rounds out the top three.
Near the bottom of the pack, returning players Blair Weintraub ’18 and senior captain Lauren Williams provide the veteran presence that will be needed down the stretch. Both Weintraub and Williams defeated their Wesleyan counterparts in straight sets and look to do the same heading into this weekend’s bout with Trinity.
Bates men’s track and field lost two important athletes to graduation last year in two-time All-American Eric Wainman and nine-time All-American Sean Enos. Last year, Enos came in second in the hammer throw and Wainman came in third in the decathlon at NCAA’s. Overall, the men’s team came in seventh at the ECAC Division III Outdoor Championships last spring.
Sophomore Kawai Marin said, “We’ve lost a ton of seniors, but everyone has been working really hard in the preseason. With cross-country clinching the state title, we could have another chance at the triple crown.”
Last year, Bates won state titles for cross-country, indoor track, and outdoor track. This incredible feat is extremely difficult, as it requires a plethora of talent in different events. However, confidence is high amidst the talented men’s team.
Another returning varsity competitor, pole vaulter David Dick ’18, agreed: “Things are ramping up right now. The lifts are getting heavier and the workouts longer. Next week, we have a little competition amongst the team to see where everyone stands as far as power, speed and endurance go.” Dick continued, “Even though our first meet isn’t until after break, there’s an atmosphere of growing excitement.” The men’s team could do great things this season.
The women’s team placed 22nd at the ECAC Division III Outdoor Championships last spring. At the event, then first-year Srishti Sunil became the first woman at Bates to jump over 18 feet in the long jump, securing a third-place finish. Bates came in fourth in the 800-meter relay, but has lost two of the seniors on that team.
Junior Alison Hill commented, “This year we’ve lost a fair amount of graduated seniors and have a few of our junior distance runners going abroad. But we have a very large freshmen class this year that will be able to fill those voids. We were also missing most of the present senior class last year because they were abroad, so I think especially in the distance events, they will be able to contribute heavily to our team’s success.”
Sophomores Srishti Sunil and Sally Ceesay, juniors Jess Wilson and Claire Markonic, and senior Izzi Unger will be instrumental in their respective events this season.
Hill continued, “Because we have such a range of talent, I think this team will upset a lot of our opponents that have dominated in the past. Overall, I think we are going to have a very strong team this year and have the potential to exceed last year’s achievements.”
With a young team, Bates looks to perform well in the indoor season and build on their strengths for the outdoor season as well as win their third consecutive state championship.
This article has been edited, as the squash coach’s name is Pat not Peter and Darrius Campbell is a junior not senior.