Led by top seed and defending CSA national champion Ahmed Abdel Khalek ’16, Bates men’s squash finished second in the NESCAC tournament, the best showing in program history.
Ranked number 17 in the nation, the Bobcats had few problems beating Wesleyan in the quarterfinals, registering a 9-0 win. The semifinals against Middlebury, however, posed a much greater challenge. Seeking payback after a 5-4 loss to Middlebury on January 8, the entire Bates lineup came through in the clutch. In most matches this season, wins from Abdel Khalek and second seed Ahmed Hatata ’17 have practically been guarantees. Against Middlebury, senior captain Caran Arora at number four contributed with an important four set win, while Anirudh Nambiar ’18, Coley Cannon ’19, and Carlos Ames ’17 also recorded victories at five, six, and seven respectively.
Perennial number one Trinity handled the Bobcats in the finals, winning the title by a 7-2 score line. Abdel Khalek picked up his 58th straight win with ease, 11-5, 11-3, 11-6, and Hatata notched the other victory for Bates. Coach Pat Cosquer commented that a scenario where Abdel Khalek plays Hatata in the national championship finals “would be so cool. That would be huge for Bates and our program.”
The women’s team also started their NESCAC tournament with an impressive first round win, beating Tufts by an 8-1 margin. Unfortunately, they were on the wrong end of an 8-1 match in their quarterfinal encounter with Williams, as number one seed Kristyna Alexova ’19 had Bates’ only win.
The Bobcats battled back admirably in the consolation bracket, defeating both Hamilton and Bowdoin 6-3 to secure a fifth-place finish. Alexova (who ended the tournament 4-0) and co-captains Charlotte Cabot ’17, Emma Dunn ’17, and Lauren Williams ‘16 each won their matches against Hamilton and Bowdoin.
Bates’ women will travel to Hobart this weekend, while the men are looking to find a substitute for the cancelled Rochester Invitational.